Earlier Wednesday, St. Louis County Police raided a school building attached to Greater St. Mark Family Church in Ferguson, which was open for use by injured protesters known as the Dream Defenders. In a video recorded by Reconciling Ministries Network, organizer Phillip Agnew described to Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey how, in addition to ejecting the injured protesters, the police apparently seized quantities of the over-the-counter indigestion remedy Maalox — often used to counter the effects of pepper spray (as seen in a report by Chez Pazienza on The Daily Banter).
In the video, Agnew said, “But in no uncertain terms, this was a place where this community deemed, a place where we could come and feel — what? Safe. And what they did today was tell us what? There is no safety here. And they came in here when none of us were here, and took some of the supplies that people need to alleviate the symptoms of tear gas in their eyes and on their face. They took those, and they left the water and the medical supplies.”
According to a police statement issued later to The Huffington Post, the department claimed that the church was being occupied without an occupancy permit, but this was clearly not the case. The statement didn’t explain at all why the Maalox was confiscated.
Why the police would bother with what occurs inside a school at time like this and why they would seize Maalox is totally baffling. At the very least, it’s utterly tone deaf and, at worst, it’s further evidence that the police are out of control. Considering what’s happening in the streets of Ferguson, there’s is no reason whatsoever to do this — other than to inflame the situation and to further extend the divide between the citizens and the authorities.