A building used by Ferguson, Mo. protest groups as a safe space and aid station was raided by police earlier today—apparently for the third time since protests started last week.
Reports started to surface on social media a little while ago that a church had been raided by police in Ferguson.
Word quickly spread but St. Louis Public Radio quickly reported that a clerk said there were no police at the church.
In fact I called St. Mark's Church myself, and the sunny-sounding woman answering the phone, who said her name was Shirley White, said, "I don't know how that rumor got started!" And told me there was no police at the church.
Reporters actually in Ferguson went to the scene and apparently discovered the source of the confusion: it was the school building next door to St. Marks that the police had visited. It seems some organizers — including at least a group called Dream Defenders — had been using it as a "safe haven," and were storing supplies there. The historian and New Yorker contributor Jelani Cobb was on the scene and explained that police had indeed visited the building under the pretense that it was violating occupancy laws.
The writer Elon James White, also on the scene, posted several video interviews to his Instagram, in which one of the organizers says the police's visits have effectively "shut down" the organizers' efforts at the building.
The organizers there are telling reporters they provided food and shelter and other first aid supplies.
But reports continue to conflict as to whether or not the police actually took anything from the building. Another Instagram video from reporter Errin Haines Whack shows an organizer saying that police "took some of the supplies that people need to alleviate the symptoms of tear gas in their eyes":
We'll update the story as it develops.