Amid the tense situation, a group of people trying to keep the peace locked arms and managed to position themselves between the more confrontational protesters and the police line.
After being commanded to disperse, police fired tear gas canisters near a burnt-out and looted QuikTrip. The gas gradually drifted up to the area at the intersection of West Florissant and Ferguson Avenue where most of the clashes between police and protesters occurred. The gas caused some of the lingering demonstrators to disperse.
At least one protester hurled a smoking canister back at police. CNN reported that several stun grenades were sent into the crowd along with the tear gas.
Police ordered the media to move away from the scene of the confrontation to their command center, about one mile away.
Capt. Ron Johnson, regional head of the Missouri State Highway patrol, said numerous arrests had been made and at least two people had been shot. The bullets did not come from police, Johnson said.
"Our peaceful protesters are not the enemy," Johnson said. "Tonight we closed the roadway; we allowed those who come in peace to walk the roadway."
"But also you saw tonight that didn't occur down there," Johnson said. "That element that's been causing havoc got within that peaceful protest."
Earlier, Scott Olson, a news photographer with Getty Images, became the latest journalist to be arrested, according to Pancho Bernasconi, Getty's vice president for news. Olson's arrest was captured by one of his Getty colleagues, Joe Raedle. He was later released, and in a statement Getty said he would continue working in Ferguson.
Others had their own tense encounters with the police. In one instance Monday afternoon, St. Louis County police officers arrested a man walking on a sidewalk.
Capt. Johnson said one man who was arrested for failure to disperse had threatened to hurt police officers.
"That's not not freedom of speech when you say I'm going to hurt you," Johnson said. "That's not freedom of speech."
Two police officers tackled the man and took him to the ground while onlookers shouted that the man wasn't doing anything wrong.
"I didn't see anybody behaving in any way that would instigate for the police to do anything," said Ben Mengis, 55, of St. Louis County, who said he was standing 10 feet from the incident. "He did not do anything."
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday dropped the curfew that had been in effect for two nights in an ill-fated effort to curb the violence and chaos that have ripped this city since Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed black pedestrian, was shot to death by white police officer Darren Wilson, 28, on Aug. 9.
Nixon announced that the National Guard would assume "limited responsibilities" to help keep order during nighttime protests over the shooting.
Most of the National Guard units that had been summoned by Nixon appeared early Tuesday to be keeping their distance from the protests and protecting a police staging area.
"With these additional resources in place, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement will continue to respond appropriately to incidents of lawlessness and violence, and protect the civil rights of all peaceful citizens to make their voices heard," Nixon said in a written statement. "We will not use a curfew tonight."
"This has to stop," Johnson said early Tuesday morning. "I don't want anyone to get hurt. I don't want an officer to get hurt, I don't want a citizen to get hurt. We have to find a way to stop it."
A grand jury may begin hearing the case on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. It was unclear how long it might take for a decision on whether Wilson should face criminal charges for Brown's death.
source: usatoday.com by Larry Copeland and Yamiche Alcindor