More than a dozen people arrested during protests outside the Ferguson Police Department early Friday were outfitted with orange prison jumpsuits, slapped with high bail and locked behind bars for hours longer than most others arrested in earlier demonstrations against the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
The 13 protestors, including many seized while standing on the sidewalk, were arrested by police officers from St. Louis County Police and Missouri State Highway Patrol and were jailed in nearby St. Ann. Video of the arrests show protestors on the sidewalk, and not blocking the street, when officers moved in. They were charged with offenses that included failure to comply with police, noise ordinance violations and resisting arrest.
“There were young people who were clearly identified and targeted based upon their leadership and pulled out of that line in order to be arrested,” said the Rev. Starsky Wilson at an impromptu press conference in St. Ann.
Bail for some was set as high as $2,700. Wilson said that was later reduced to $1,000, an amount he said he still considered excessive. A jail official didn’t respond to a message seeking comment.
The treatment of those arrested Friday contrasted with most others who have been charged in demonstrations since the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown, 18, by Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson. In the past, protesters have been released after a few hours, or held overnight. Bail has typically been a few hundred dollars.
Members of the clergy met with the protesters on Friday. One of the protesters, Brittany Farrell, sent out tweets while in custody, before she was taken back to a jail cell.
“We see this as an attempt to break down peaceful protests and to tamp down the voices of these who are lawfully assembled exercising their First Amendment rights,” Wilson said.
In a tweet, the organization Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment said it was raising money for bail to free the protesters.
The St. Louis County Police Department announced on Friday it was taking over security involving protests in Ferguson for the time being.
UPDATE: 10:30 p.m. — The protesters were freed on their own recognizance around 6 p.m. local time, after nearly 18 hours in custody. They emerged from jail yelling, “If Mike don’t get it, shut it down,” before devoting a few minutes of silence to Brown.
Source: Huffington Post