Heavy police presence, arrests stop protesters from shutting down interstate near Ferguson

ferguson
Photo: Tom Gannam, AP

A heavy police presence Wednesday was the only thing that prevented protesters from shutting down Interstate 70 near Ferguson, Mo.

The protest was planned to force Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting death of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old black man killed last month by a white police officer, according to CNN.

Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said before the protest began that trying to block the interstate highway is “unsafe and unacceptable.”

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“People trying to shut down I-70 would not only create a very serious hazard for themselves, but also for motorists trying to get home from school or work,” he told local CBS affiliate KMOV.

The protest was planned as an act of nonviolent civil disobedience — although someone forgot to tell the four protesters arrested for throwing bricks, stones, rocks, glass bottles and water bottles at police.

Organizers told CNN that “professional agitators” were throwing the objects, not protesters.

The Highway Patrol said 35 people were arrested overall — most were charged with unlawful assembly. The rest would move the protest to the Ferguson police department.

CNN reported on other developments on Tuesday as a grand jury continues to hear the Brown case:

Earlier Tuesday, Brown’s family members appeared alongside members of the NAACP and the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, demanding that Wilson be arrested for Brown’s death.

Also Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Ellen Levy Siwak denied a request from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Brown’s juvenile records be released.

On Tuesday night, the Ferguson City Council met for the first time since the shooting, and on the agenda was the creation of a citizen review board to work with the Police Department.

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