Ferguson Residents Protect Stores from Looters During Police Standoff

Protesters in Ferguson, Mo. stood their ground against both police and looters Friday night, refusing to disperse despite orders and attempting to protect local businesses from what the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery—who took the above photo, of a local resident standing guard—described as "drunk kid" looters.

Though tensions had ratcheted down when the local police force was pulled from Ferguson in favor of the Missouri Highway State Patrol, the Friday revelation of the name of the officer who killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown—and the Ferguson Police Chief's insistence on releasing a video of Brown participating in a petty convenience-store theft—galvanized the protesters, who took to Ferguson's streets earlier in the week following Brown's shooting death.

Late Friday night, according to reports of journalists on the scene, police told protesters blocking a main street to return home. Protesters refused, and, nearby some looters broke into a beauty store and a meat market—only for other community members to barricade themselves in front of the stores (including the convenience store from which Michael Brown was accused of stealing) to stop looting. Though residents managed to protect some stores, others were ransacked, with looters apparently hitting the meat market particularly hard.

Around 4 a.m., the New York Times reports, police had pulled back and protesters had mostly dispersed:

The confrontation, the first serious one since the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Thursday assumed responsibility for security operations here, ended at about 4 a.m. when the authorities, prompted by the gradual dispersal of demonstrators, pulled back to their nearby command post. The Associated Press reported one law enforcement official had been injured overnight. [...]

Captain Johnson told The Associated Press that police backed off to try and ease the tension "We had to evaluate the security of the officers there and also the rioters," he told The A.P. "We just felt it was better to move back."

Lowery, the reporter who was bizarrely arrested on Wednesday in a McDonald's, returned to the scene, where his live reports continued to be the most important, and fascinating, writing coming out of the town. The Los Angeles Times' Matt Pearce, USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor, and Animal's Amy K. Nelson have all also done essential reporting during the standoff.

Vice also has a fascinating livestream.