Police officers move in to arrest protesters as they push and clear crowds out of the West Florissant Avenue area in Ferguson, Mo. early Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. On Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year old, in the St. Louis suburb.
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Unrest in Ferguson since Michael Brown’s death has resulted in 163 arrests in the area where protesters have gathered nightly, and although the majority of those arrested are Missourians just seven live in the St. Louis suburb where the shooting occurred, authorities said Thursday.
St. Louis County spokeswoman Candace Jarrett provided the arrest list, the crimes they are charged with, and their addresses and years of birth. Many are from communities near Ferguson, but just seven are from Ferguson, where a White police officer shot the Black 18-year-old on Aug. 9.
The shooting has spurred protests, along with looting and rioting. Police have come under gunfire and been targeted with Molotov cocktails and bricks. They’ve also been accused of instances of heavy-handedness and unnecessary arrests, including some journalists.
Most of the arrests have been shortly before and after midnight. The tally shows that 128 people have been cited for failure to disperse, 21 for burglary-related charges, four for assaulting police officers. Others were charged with crimes such as trespassing, peace disturbance and destruction of private property.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, in charge of securing Ferguson, said just six people were arrested at protests Wednesday night, compared to 47 the previous night, providing hope among law enforcement leaders that tensions may be beginning to ease.
A grand jury on Wednesday began considering evidence to determine whether the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, should be charged. A spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch said there was no timeline for the process, but it could take weeks.
A group of clergy leaders planned a protest Thursday outside the St. Louis County Justice Center in Clayton, joining the call for McCulloch to step aside in favor of a special prosecutor. McCulloch’s deep family connections to police have been cited by some who question his ability to be impartial. McCulloch’s father, mother, brother, uncle and cousin all worked for the St. Louis Police Department, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect.
The prosecutor, who is White, has insisted his background will have no bearing on the handling of the Brown case.
Meanwhile, St. Louis police released video showing officers killing a knife-wielding man on Tuesday. The video shows the man saying, “Kill me now” as he moved toward two officers. Both fired six shot, killing the man, 25-year-old Kajieme Powell.
The incident happened in north St. Louis, about five miles from where Brown was shot. The St. Louis shooting briefly spurred a gathering of about 150 people who chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” a chant that has become common among protesters in Ferguson.
Associated Press writer Nigel Duara in Ferguson contributed to this report. Salter reported from St. Louis.