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Another Night Of Unrest During Protests In Ferguson

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FERGUSON, Mo. -- It was almost a peaceful night. But late Tuesday, the tension in the air broke and there were, once again, confrontations between police and the protesters out calling for justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The protest built slowly Tuesday, in part due to the fact that the temperature was in the 90s and the sun was out. But once it became darker -- and people came by after work -- the crowd began to grow.

Protesters marched along West Florissant Avenue in remembrance of Brown, the unarmed black teenager fatally shot by a white police officer on Aug. 9. Demonstrators chanted "no justice no peace," and "hands up, don't shoot," while others simply looked on. Police were, for the most part, not enforcing the rule -- which officers said came from Gov. Jay Nixon's (D) office -- forcing protesters to keep moving or risk removal.

While people were relieved at the initial lack of confrontation Tuesday night, everyone recognized how fragile the situation was and that it could turn instantly. Community members and religious leaders were going through the crowd trying to stop arguments and conflicts before they escalated.

At one point, a fight broke out in front of the Burger Bar -- the only business in the protest area that has remained open late each evening -- but the incident was brief and quickly diffused.

By 11:00 p.m. CDT, peacekeepers were encouraging protesters to leave the area for the night and urging everyone to gather for a new protest outside the office of St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch Wednesday morning. A grand jury is expected to convene at that time. Many community members want McCulloch removed from the investigation of Brown's death, arguing he is not impartial.

By around midnight central time, the situation quickly changed. Water bottles and urine were reportedly thrown at the police and there were confrontations between police officers and protesters. At least one officer drew his gun, and panic erupted as people fled, crouching behind cars and trying to get away from the chaos.

A police line formed, and some individuals trying to serve as mediators linked arms between the officers and the crowd.

The media area became crowded with protesters who had retreated into it to escape the chaos, so police began to remove protesters within its boundaries. Members of the media were encouraged to remain in the designated press area as confrontations between protesters and officers continued.

At least one member of the media was spotted being arrested and a legal observer from the National Lawyers Guild was also being detained.

According to Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, police encountered fewer violent incidents on Tuesday, no Molotov cocktails and no live gunfire. In response, officers did not feel the need to use smoke bombs or tear gas, though a limited amount of pepper spray was deployed, he said.

Johnson noted that there was a "different dynamic" on the streets and credited a change in the mood on the streets of Ferguson to many different law enforcement agencies working as a united team as well as "elders, volunteers, activists and clergy" who walked and talked with protesters. These people had a "calming influence," particularly on the young people, he said.

At a press conference early Wednesday, Johnson told reporters that most of the protests held during the day were peaceful. However, once darkness fell, "violent instigators" took to the streets. Police eventually made 47 arrests, including one during a traffic stop that involved suspects who allegedly threatened to shoot a police officer. Two loaded guns were confiscated during that encounter.

Attorney General Eric Holder will visit Ferguson to follow up on the Justice Department's independent investigation into Brown's death, meeting with federal investigators on Wednesday. He penned a letter to the people of Ferguson on Tuesday discouraging violent protests.

"In order to begin the healing process, however, we must first see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson," Holder wrote. "Although these acts have been committed by a very small minority — and, in many cases, by individuals from outside Ferguson — they seriously undermine, rather than advance, the cause of justice. And they interrupt the deeper conversation that the legitimate demonstrators are trying to advance."

Amanda Terkel and Ryan J. Reilly reported from Ferguson. Ashley Alman contributed from Washington. Jade Walker reported from New Hampshire. This post has been updated.

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USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor provides an intimate look at how Michael Brown's parents have been dealing with the loss of their son:

Phones constantly ring with reporters asking for interviews or family members offering support. Last week, as demands reached a tipping point, both parents moved into hotels to shield themselves.

In the days leading up to the funeral, Brown's mother continued to cry and spoke in whispers as she tried to explain her feelings.

"They say tomorrow is going to be the hardest day, but I think today was — just seeing my baby laying there, cold," Lesley McSpadden, 34, told USA TODAY. "It did something to my heart. It's too much. It's too much."

Read the rest at USA Today.

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New audio has surfaced that allegedly captures the moment when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on Aug. 9.

CNN aired the unverified recording on Monday night. Six shots can be heard, followed by a pause, then several more. A private autopsy performed on Aug. 17 at the request of Brown's family found that the 18-year-old was shot 6 times, including twice in the head.

Read the rest here.

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USA Today reporter, Yamiche Alcindor shares photo of program which includes tributes to Michael Brown from his mother and father

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08/25/2014 11:57 AM EDT
Program For The Funeral
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08/25/2014 11:04 AM EDT
Noteworthy Funeral Attendees
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08/25/2014 10:58 AM EDT
Waiting For Brown's Family
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08/25/2014 10:57 AM EDT
Police Captain Ron Johnson Arrives
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08/25/2014 10:45 AM EDT
Mo. Sen. To Attend Funeral
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08/25/2014 10:37 AM EDT
Casket In Place

MSNBC reports:

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08/25/2014 10:35 AM EDT
Funeral Security
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08/25/2014 10:33 AM EDT
Brown's Father Asks For Peace
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MSNBC reports:

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08/25/2014 10:26 AM EDT
Hands Up
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08/25/2014 10:22 AM EDT
Sanctuary Filling Fast For Funeral

CNN reports:

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Missouri congressman Lacy Clay (D) said on Thursday that he had "serious concerns" about the prosecutor in charge of Michael Brown's case.

"I also have serious concerns about the local prosecutors, about their ability to fairly prosecute this case in the interests of justice. To deliver justice to this community, or to Michael Brown's family. And I say that because we have a track record," Clay told CNN.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch has come under heavy scrutiny in the days following Brown's death. Critics say that McCulloch's ties to law enforcement will cloud his judgement and have called on Governor Jay Nixon (D) to appoint a special prosecutor instead. A petition against him has received over 70,000 signatures.

McCulloch's father was a police officer killed in the line of duty.

For his part, McCulloch has promised that his investigation will be fair and thorough. In a statement, he said:

I have no intention of walking away from the responsibilities and duties entrusted to me by the people of this community. Additionally, there is no basis in the law to do so. I have faithfully and fairly carried out those responsibilities and duties for more than two decades and will continue to do so for at least the next four years.

Nixon has also repeatedly insisted that he won't take McCulloch off the case.

Alana Horowitz

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From HuffPost's Dave Jamieson:

Like the rest of the St. Louis community, including their own teachers, Gateway students had emotional discussions about being black in America, about mistrust of the police, about peaceful demonstration and violent protest. They were asked to write down what they were feeling about Ferguson, with the assurance that no sentiments were out of bounds.

Click here to read excerpts from the responses penned by a group of 7th and 8th graders at the school.

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Washington Post reports that Darren Wilson was injured following a scuffle with Michael Brown before he shot and killed him.

A family friend told WaPo that Wilson's eye bone was fractured. Fox News reported similar information earlier this week, citing a police source.

Another source told CNN that these reports are false.

Last week, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters that Wilson was taken to the hospital following the incident, but did not say for what.

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HuffPost's Arthur Delaney reports:

When Attorney General Eric Holder went to Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday, he assured local residents the U.S. Justice Department will swiftly investigate the police killing of an unarmed black teenager on Aug. 9.

In meetings with locals, Holder emphasized how his own past experiences will inform his work overseeing the Justice Department's investigation of Michael Brown's killing. He told students at a community college there that police searched his car when he'd been stopped for speeding on the New Jersey Turnpike.

"I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me," Holder said. "The same kid who got stopped on the New Jersey freeway is now the attorney general of the United States."

But Holder's critics point out that this is the same man who was woefully soft on bad cops when he served as Washington, D.C.'s top prosecutor in the mid-1990s.

"Relying on Holder to take action is like sending a guy with a cup of water to put out a wildfire," said Gregory Lattimer, an attorney who has represented family members of people killed by D.C. police, including DeOnte Rawlings, a 14-year-old boy shot in the back of the head by an off-duty officer in 1997.

"[Holder] was part of the problem in D.C., not the solution," Lattimer said. "He says all the right things and then he goes out and defends the status quo."

Read more here.

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