Like a lot of media people on West Florissant tonight, I made the decision to leave early (early being just after midnight). The reason is that unlike last night the crowd on the street seemed to break apart on its own as the hours went by. There were minor incidents here and there: at one point two very white middle-aged people showed up with signs in support of Officer Darren Wilson, which went over about as well you’d expect, and when the thunderstorm rolled in, rather than break up the demonstrators it created minor chaos as many seemed to believe police would use it as an excuse to end the night’s call to action.
Photo: Chez Pazienza/The Daily Banter
I took shelter beneath the overhang of a small building with a woman who lashed out furiously at the police, saying that they had no right to be there, and crying over her brother, who had apparently died recently. It took a group effort to calm her.
Toward the very end of the night, a young man appeared who claimed that he’d been badly beaten by police during the melee that ended yesterday’s protest — the one in which I was pepper sprayed. Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post shot this. He managed to get in closer than I could.
All things considered, though, tonight’s protest, while still undeniably passionate, lacked the numbers, sense of celebration and occasional ferocity of yesterday’s. I heard more than one person proclaim that the marches along West Florissant would continue until a grand jury returns an indictment against Darren Wilson, but with prosecutor Bob McCulloch saying that he has no intention of rushing the proceedings we could be waiting at least a little while for any decision.
At times it really did feel like there were more media people there than protesters tonight — and for the most part many of those media people just kind of stood there waiting for something “big” to happen. It’s the crappy and highly cynical nature of the press that we descend like vultures onto the carcass of a story, pick it clean, then move on when we’ve had enough or simply get bored with it. I’m not saying it’s right — because it isn’t — I’m simply saying that it’s how it is.
— Chez Pazienza (@chezpazienza) August 21, 2014
There’s more to tell but I’ll leave it at that for now. Continuing coverage tomorrow.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.