National Guard start pullout as Ferguson tensions calm
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 00:41
National Guard troops to withdraw from the town of Ferguson in Missouri as tensions ease after nearly two weeks of protests over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black teenager. Rough Cut. (No Reporter Narration)
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: Demonstrators were orderly for a second straight evening on Thursday (August 21), the calmest night in the St. Louis suburb since 18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down by a white police officer on Aug. 9 under disputed circumstances.
Ferguson erupted in anger after the teenager's slaying, with nightly rallies frequently punctuated by looting, vandalism and clashes between protesters and heavily armed riot police, often ending in volleys of tear gas and dozens of arrests.
The turmoil has cast the community of 21,000 people into the international spotlight as an emblem of often-troubled U.S. race relations.
Although Ferguson is predominantly African American, its political leadership, police department and public school administration are dominated by whites. Civil rights activists say Brown's death was the culmination of years of police unfairly targeting blacks.
The police presence was generally more low key than it had been since Brown was shot, but the night was not without incident.
Police made a number of isolated arrests of people suspected of instigating the earlier unrest, and tensions heightened briefly as protesters clamoured around arresting officers, before members of the clergy moved in to calm the crowd.
National Guard troops, who were deployed to Ferguson to assist police at the height of disturbances but have kept a relatively low profile during demonstrations, were ordered by Governor Jay Nixon to begin pulling out of the community.
Despite lingering expressions of anger and distrust, the atmosphere in Ferguson appeared to be growing calmer.
Only six people were arrested overnight between Wednesday and Thursday, far fewer than the scores detained on previous nights. As of Thursday afternoon, the total number of arrests since the uproar began in Ferguson had climbed to just over 200, most for failing to heed orders to disperse, police said.
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