In Ferguson, Many Outsiders Are Among Those Arrested

8/19/14
 
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from The Wall Street Journal,
8/19/14:

About a Quarter of Those Detained in 30-Hour Period Aren’t From the Local Area.

Police have stepped up arrests here in a bid to root out those they consider outside agitators without further angering peaceful demonstrators, as unrest following the death of an unarmed black teen showed few signs of abating.

More than 80 people were arrested in a 30-hour period into Tuesday, far surpassing past totals given by authorities who are struggling to find a strategy to bring this seven-square mile St. Louis suburb under control. About one-quarter of those arrested over that time are from outside the area, from as far away as New York and San Francisco, county records showed.

Attention in recent days began to shift to those outside protesters, whom some local officials and even protest leaders blamed for using Molotov cocktails, guns and fireworks to ignite greater discord. Attorney General Eric Holder, who is traveling to Ferguson on Wednesday to be briefed on the matter, said in an op-ed piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that many of the acts of violence were being committed by those from outside Ferguson.

“Let’s have a night that we can completely separate those good people exercising their First Amendment rights from those who are trying to co-opt this horrible situation into something to meet their own needs,” said Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III in a television interview on Tuesday.

Still, officials didn’t let local protesters entirely off the hook. “There are some outsiders, but there are a lot of people who live here,” said Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson, who is overseeing security here. “We can’t just blame that on outside agitators. Yes, there are some, but many are people who live right here in Missouri.”

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