There is never a day where at least one person isn’t outside the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department sitting or standing near an anemic tree, the only place for a bit of shade.
At night, the crowd tends to swell, and the protest grows more intense.
There are almost always two or three people streaming events live. You can hear them loudly sharing thoughts or giving a play-by-play of what’s happening.
While their cameras capture lives images, they call out what they think are injustices surrounding the August shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent police crackdown on protesters in the 10 weeks or so since Brown was killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.
The police are geared up with cameras as well. They wear body cameras, and any time officers approach protesters there is usually at least one officer with a handheld camera, too.
It’s a careful dance in which protesters and police are trying to make sure they have proof if a law is broken or someone’s civil rights are violated.
Both outside the police department, and roughly 2 miles east — along the main protest route, where most of the imagery of the sometimes-violent protests has originated — tension can go from zero to 100 in seconds on any given night.
Police can tally dozens of arrests a night since the city erupted. Among those placed in cuffs were journalists, clergy, a local rapper, a state senator, a St. Louis alderman and activist/intellectual Cornel West.
It’s tough to predict the mood each night. On Tuesday, a small group of about 50 protesters caused no disturbances, and there were no arrests, police said. The next night, five police officers were assaulted with rocks, water bottles and a metal rod as demonstrators blocked traffic and knocked down barricades outside the police department.
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