A state of emergency was declared in St. Louis County on Monday afternoon (Aug. 10) as protests over the police shooting of a man on Sunday night escalated in the streets.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 50 protesters including prominent author/activist Cornel West and minister/social activist Reverend Osagyefo Sekou, as well as Black Lives Matter leaders DeRay McKesson and Johnetta Elzie, were among those arrested in Monday's demonstration, whose aim was to be detained by police.
The protesters where holding a "Moral Monday" sit-in at the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse in St. Louis demanding the break up of the Ferguson Police Department.
The state of emergency was put into place and oversight of the unrest in Ferguson was handed over to Country Police Chief Jon Belmar after an exchange of gunfire between police and an 18-year-old man late Sunday night. The violence came following a mostly peaceful daytime march by around 1,000 commemorating the one-year anniversary of the killing of unarmed black teenager Mike Brown by a white police officer.
"In light of last night's violence and unrest in the city of Ferguson, and the potential for harm to persons and property, I am exercising my authority as county executive to issue a state of emergency effective immediately," St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement. "The recent acts of violence will not be tolerated in a community that has worked so tirelessly over the last year to rebuild and become stronger."
Police said the man who was shot was with one of the two groups who exchanged gunfire on Sunday night, neither of whom were believed to be affiliated with the Brown commemoration; he was described as being in "critical, unstable" condition in a local hospital. Two other people were also shot by officers during the unrest.
Though the injured man has not been identified by police, the Dispatch ID'd him as Tyrone Harris, 18, a close friend of Brown's. In addition, three officers were injured and five people were arrested during the skirmishes following the shootings.
According to Reuters, Harris has been charged with assault on law enforcement and shooting at a motor vehicle and is being held on $250,000 bond.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon described Sunday's violence as a "sad turn of events" that he believed was carried out by a criminal element. It was Nixon who called out the National Guard a year ago in an attempt to cool down the violence following Brown's death; as of press time there was no mention of additional troops or security coming in to staff additional rallies planned in the area.