By Ellen Wulfhorst, Daniel Wallis and Edward McAllister
FERGUSON, Mo., Nov 26 (Reuters) - National Guard troops and police aimed to head off a third night of violence on Wednesday in Ferguson, Missouri, as more than 400 people have been arrested in the St. Louis suburb and around the United States in unrest after a white policeman was cleared in the killing of an unarmed black teenager.
There have been protests in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta and other cities decrying Monday's grand jury decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in a case that has touched off a debate about race relations in the United States.
Ferguson, a predominately black city, has been hit by two nights of rioting, looting and arson with some businesses burned to the ground, but authorities say an increased security presence on Tuesday night helped quell the violence.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has deployed about 2,200 National Guard troops in and around Ferguson. Police made 45 arrests in Ferguson in the Tuesday night protests, down from 61 in aftermath of Monday's grand jury decision.
"The ramped up presence and action of the Missouri National Guard has been helpful," Nixon said on Wednesday after facing criticism for not deploying enough guardsman in the hours after the grand jury's decision.
Tensions between police and black Americans have simmered for decades, with many blacks feeling the U.S. legal system and law enforcement authorities do not treat them fairly. In Washington, President Barack Obama has tried to keep a lid on anger that has spilled over to other cities and garnered international attention.
Obama remained cautious in his comments in the immediate aftermath of the Ferguson shooting, but has been more expansive in recent days including remarks at the White House after the grand jury's decision. On Monday he said deep distrust exists between police and minorities and that "communities of color aren't just making these problems up."
Russia on Wednesday pointed to rioting in Ferguson and the other protests across the United States as evidence that Moscow's detractors in Washington were hypocrites and in no position to lecture Russia on human rights.
St. Louis police said three people were arrested at a protest near City Hall on Wednesday in which activists staged a mock trial of Wilson, who told the grand jury he shot Brown because he feared for his life.
Ferguson's mayor, James Knowles, is white, as are most of its city council members. A 2013 state attorney general's report found more than 85 percent of motorists pulled over in the city are black, and the arrest rate among blacks is twice the rate among white residents.
Obama's Justice Department is probing the Ferguson shooting as it considers whether to bring federal civil rights charges against the officer and the police department.
"The sad fact is that it brings up issues that we've been struggling with in this country for a long, long time," said Matthew Green, an associate professor of politics at the Catholic University of America.
"These are not problems and issues that are going to get resolved by one president in the remainder of his term."
Wilson said his conscience was clear. He told ABC News that there was nothing he could have done differently that would have prevented Brown's death. But the parents of the slain teenager said they did not accept the officer's version of the events.
"I don't believe a word of it," Brown's mother Lesley McSpadden told "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday.
The crowds in Ferguson were smaller and more controlled than on Monday, when about a dozen businesses were torched and others were looted amid rock-throwing and sporadic gunfire from protesters and volleys of tear gas fired by police. More than 60 people were arrested then.
"Generally, it was a much better night," St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters on Wednesday, adding there was little arson or gunfire, and that lawlessness was confined to a relatively small group.
A Conoco gas station and convenience store in Ferguson has escaped looters with armed, black local residents guarding the white-owned store.
Protests over the Ferguson decision in several major cities on Tuesday night shut highways and led to some arrests.
Police in Boston said on Wednesday that 45 people were arrested in protests overnight that drew more than a thousand demonstrators. In Dallas, seven were arrested for blocking traffic on Interstate 35, a major north-south U.S. roadway.
In New York, where police used pepper spray to control the crowd after protesters tried to block the Lincoln Tunnel and Triborough Bridge, 10 demonstrators were arrested, police said.
Protesters in Los Angeles threw water bottles and other objects at officers outside city police headquarters and later obstructed both sides of a downtown freeway with makeshift roadblocks and debris, authorities said.
(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Roberta Rampton in Washington, Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, Carey Gillam in Kansas City, David Bailey in Minneapolis, Fiona Ortiz and Mary Wisniewski in Chicago, Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans, and Laila Kearney and Letitia Stein in New York, Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, Colleen Jenkins in North Carolina.; Writing by Jon Herskovitz and Frank McGurty; Editing by Will Dunham)
BEFORE YOU GO
11/30/2014 3:28 PM EST
Wilson Resigned Over Safety Concerns, Lawyer Says
he white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, resigned from the force without any severance deal, the mayor of the St. Louis suburb said on Sunday.
The officer, Darren Wilson, announced his resignation late Saturday, saying he feared for his own safety and that of his fellow police officers after a grand jury decided not to indict him in the fatal Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
11/30/2014 7:27 AM EST
10 People Arrested During Portland's Ferguson Protest
PORTLAND, Ore (AP) — Authorities say 10 people have been arrested in Portland during a protest related to the Ferguson, Missouri, police shooting.
The city police bureau says the arrests came Saturday night "after a large group of protesters laid down in the street and refused lawful orders to clear the roadway."
Earlier, the gathering over the Missouri shooting death of a black man by a white police officer included a speech by the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
The Oregonian reports that Jackson urged nonviolence and said the resignation of the officer was "a step in the right direction," but that much remained to be done to achieve justice for the victim.
Police say that after Jackson left, some protesters marched around downtown and sporadically disrupted traffic.
Officials say some bottles were thrown at officers and a police car was damaged.
The nine adults and one juvenile arrested will face charges that include disorderly conduct.
11/29/2014 10:15 PM EST
11/29/2014 10:01 PM EST
Large Police Presence
11/29/2014 9:42 PM EST
Saturday Night Protest In Ferguson
11/29/2014 9:26 PM EST
Armed 'Oath Keepers' Plan To Protest
The NYT reports that armed members of the group "Oath Keepers" are in Ferguson to offer their help protecting businesses from damage.
From the NYT:
The volunteers, who are sometimes described as a citizen militia — but do not describe themselves that way — have taken up armed positions on rooftops here on recent nights....
But on Saturday, with the county police said to be threatening the Oath Keepers with arrest, the volunteers decided to abandon their posts and instead protest against the authorities. Late in the day on Saturday, a protest was being planned for that night.
Read more here.
11/29/2014 6:56 PM EST
Darren Wilson Resigns From Ferguson Police Department
Darren Wilson has resigned from Ferguson police department.
Read his resignation letter below, via St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process."
11/27/2014 12:55 PM EST
Murals In Ferguson
The group that's out painting right now also did this mural. It's a block or so from the Ferguson PD pic.twitter.com/tqgIUhR8C0— Jim Dalrymple II (@JimDalrympleII) November 27, 2014
11/27/2014 11:28 AM EST
Ferguson Protests Hit Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Unrest following the Ferguson grand jury's decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson has hit the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Using #StopTheParade as a rallying cry, protesters attempted to disrupt the annual parade in New York City. According to Mashable, police arrested some of the demonstrators just as the parade kicked off.
11/27/2014 11:19 AM EST
Ferguson Library Stays Open Throughout The Protests
MSNBC's Steve Kornacki reports on Ferguson's public library, which has remained open throughout the protests.
Over 50 volunteers helped staff the library, which provided free lunches to children as schools remained closed. The library also offered help to businesses who suffered damage during the protests following the grand jury's decision.
"We have a dramatic setting right now but it is not different than what libraries do every day," library director Scott Bonner said.