(FERGUSON, Mo.) — A crowd of several hundred people gathered outside the Ferguson, Mo., police station Tuesday night, and after a calm start, a police car was set on fire, after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon deployed more than 2,000 National Guardsmen to the streets.
The city, the site of looting and burning after a grand jury cleared a white officer of shooting an unarmed teen Monday, had been mostly calm Tuesday night.
The St. Louis County police department confirmed the use of tear gas to disperse the crowd because of vandalism.
Several arrests were made, including two people from Oklahoma charged for unlawful assembly and resisting arrest, according to the St. Louis County Police. There were no reports of arson or stores being robbed.
“The violence we saw last night cannot be repeated,” Nixon said earlier. He called the aftermath a “heartbreaking sight,” and said “seniors are afraid to leave the house and children are afraid to go out and play….We must do better and we will.”
The governor’s move came shortly after Ferguson Mayor James Knowles criticized the governor’s decision to wait to send the National Guard into the protests after the grand jury decision was announced to clear Police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of teenager Michael Brown.
The mayor also asked that there be stepped-up protections Tuesday night.
“We must be prepared ahead of time. We must be prepared for the absolute worst,” he said.
Knowles said the National Guard was not deployed ahead of time Monday night, a move he said cost the city.
“Unfortunately as unrest grew and further assistance was needed, the National Guard was not deployed in enough time to save all of our businesses,” said Knowles, adding it’s “deeply concerning.”
He said that by waiting to send in the National Guard to provide assistance for the law enforcement officers already on the ground, protesters were able to do more damage to private property and local businesses.
“Some of these businesses have been hit twice,” Knowles said.
At least a dozen businesses were burned along with a couple of police cars during Monday night’s protests, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said earlier Tuesday.
“We reached out both through unified control and through political channels to make it known we needed more assets,” Knowles said of his office’s efforts to get the National Guard sent in as soon as property began being attacked.
St. Louis is postponing its Thanksgiving Day Parade because of the unrest.
Protests are also continuing in other cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Atlanta. In New York, the protesters stopped near the Lincoln Tunnel, stalling rush-hour traffic. Several arrests were also reported in New York.
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