FERGUSON, Mo. -- Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson defended the new rule that protesters cannot stand and congregate in one place, saying it would protect community members from criminal elements who were trying to hide in their midst and cause trouble.
"We are not going to let groups congregate and build into larger groups because that's what causes problems," Johnson told reporters in a press briefing Monday night, in response to a question from The Huffington Post. "Because what happens is, the peaceful protesters gather, and the other element blends in. Now they blend in, and that's what's been causing us some issues. So by allowing them to walk, that's not going to let the other element blend in and define this group."
On Monday, protesters were told by law enforcement to keep walking, unless they were in an approved protest area. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion in court for a temporary restraining order to stop this rule, but a judge denied the request.
Johnson, appointed by the governor to be in charge of security in Ferguson, took issue with the idea that the requirement violates people's right to assemble.
"We're not violating your rights, we're allowing you to protest," Johnson said.
"Protesting does not need to stand still, it needs to be heard. It needs to move forward," he added. "So really, the marching around in the circles, we're keeping our voice moving. I don't want it to stand still."
Monday night began more peacefully than the previous evening, when police threw tear gas to clear the streets before 10 p.m. Protesters marched with signs calling for justice in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager killed by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. The rapper Nelly caused a significant stir from the crowd as well.
Still, bad feelings lingered from Sunday night.
One man interrupted the press conference to ask Johnson why his forces tear-gassed crowds -- which included children -- Sunday night. He took issue with Johnson's assertion that people in the crowds were throwing Molotov cocktails and threatening the police command center, saying he was at the front of the march and saw no trouble.
"The front of that was peaceful," said Johnson. "In the center of that, in the midst of that, some protesters that came over the hill behind you ... I saw them [the Molotov cocktails] being thrown," he said.
Wilson has not been charged with a crime, and many protesters said they will not be content until the officer is held to account for killing Brown.
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See below for the latest in Ferguson:
BEFORE YOU GO
08/26/2014 7:49 AM EDT
The Toll On Michael Brown's Family
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."
08/26/2014 7:44 AM EDT
New Audio Allegedly Captures Moment Michael Brown Was Shot
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.
08/25/2014 12:58 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: America, It's Time To Deal With Policing
08/25/2014 12:53 PM EDT
Al Sharpton: All Of Us Are Required To Respond
Rev. Al Sharpton: All of us are required to respond to this #MikeBrownfuneral— HuffPost BlackVoices (@blackvoices) August 25, 2014
08/25/2014 12:48 PM EDT
Benjamin Crump: We Will Not Accept Three-Fifths Justice For Michael Brown
08/25/2014 12:28 PM EDT
Funeral Program Includes Tribute From Michael Brown's Parents
USA Today reporter, Yamiche Alcindor shares photo of program which includes tributes to Michael Brown from his mother and father
08/25/2014 12:22 PM EDT
Michael Brown's Stepmother: He Prophesied His Own Death
Stepmother of #MichaelBrown said the late teen "pretty much prophesied his own death and didn't realize it."— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) August 25, 2014