Last night started like any other and with the holidays approaching, I don’t think there was any officer working who expected what eventually transpired. Ferguson had continued to remain tame. Even the call load seemed to have diminished when compared to the last several months.
Unfortunately, around eleven o’clock, Berkeley had an incident of some kind at a Mobile station and started asking for more cars with a supervisor stating that it was “going to be bad.” Berkeley is the municipality immediately west of Ferguson. It starts to the north of the county bumping into the southern edge of Hazelwood and Florissant. Then it extends all the way down and past Natural Bridge before bumping into St. John and Bel-Ridge. There are approximately 9,000 residents who live in Berkeley compared to 21,000 in Ferguson, 26,000 in Hazelwood, and 52,000 in Florissant.
It didn’t take long for us to hear that an officer involved shooting had taken place and the suspect was J4 (deceased). A Berkeley PD Officer had shot and killed someone and now a crowd was gathering with County dispatch requesting more units, seemingly every couple of minutes. Eventually, that request was upgraded to a code 1000 along with the crazy radio traffic that, “They’re taking over north Hanley.” Not long after, the call was upgraded to a code 2000. The staging area at the Quiktrip across the street was deemed to be no longer safe.
Sometime around one in the morning, numerous officers activated their alert tones in reference to the crowd becoming violent, throwing bricks, and, according to the radio, at one point throwing explosive devices. It’s unclear if flashbangs were mistaken by a responding officer for something from the protester side or if there were some other explosive type devices used/fireworks, etc. I can’t confirm what was happening in Berkeley because we were short on manpower and I was instead tasked with helping to respond to calls in muni’s left with one or fewer officers.
At one point, a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of the Quiktrip across the street from the mobile station, which was located at Hanley and Frost. Though a fire caught briefly, it was put out by officers on scene. This was fortunate because the fire department wasn’t able to respond due to the violent activity of the protesters.
In another incident, a Ferguson police car was surrounded by protesters and had to be rescued with the help of more officers. Speaking of Ferguson, many of the usual suspects are already trying to spin the shooting into something that all facts seem to dispute:
- One person was complaining about the body being transported from the scene in the back of a minivan. However, this is not exactly uncommon from the transport service. Mike Brown was transported in an escalade but no one had any problem with that. At the same time, what type of insane cognitive dissonance allows for protesters to complain about the speed in which a body is removed from a crime scene (Ferguson) but also wants to complain about the manner in which they’re transported (Berkeley)? Should he have been transported by horse drawn carriage like Mike Brown’s casket was to the cemetery?
- Immediately, the narrative of the unarmed black male started to circulate online. Interestingly, St. Louis County put out a statement indicating that a Berkeley Officer rolled up on two subjects by a gas station. One pulled a gun and the officer opened fire. The protesters are already contending that this is a lie and yet:
God willing there will be video of the incident from the security footage of the gas station. In the meantime, we’re left to wonder if the facts will be more clean cut and this fizzles out, or if we’re looking at renewed hostilities. Thanksgiving was already ruined so I suppose why not throw Christmas in as well while we’re at it. Humbug.