A state of emergency has been called in Ferguson, Missouri, after violence broke out at protests marking the first anniversary of the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
Police shot 18-year-old Tyrone Harris Jr. Sunday evening after claiming that he had fired on them with a stolen handgun.
Harris was critically wounded, and has been charged with four offenses. These include assaulting a police officer and shooting at a motor vehicle.
“In light of last night's violence and unrest in the city of Ferguson, and the potential for harm to persons and property, I am exercising my authority as county executive to issue a state of emergency, effective immediately,” St Louis County executive Steve Stenger said in a statement, according to ABC.
Harris’ bond was set at $250,000.
The teenager’s father, Tyrone Harris, maintains that his son was not armed. The Claim that Harris Jr. shot at police was “a bunch of lies.”
“My son was running to the police to ask for help and he was shot,” the teenager’s father added, the New York Post reported.
“They are making my son look like a criminal,” he said.
Police Chief Jon Belmar said officers believed Harris was armed.
“There is a small group of people out there who are intent on making sure we don’t have peace that prevails,” added Belmar.
“That’s just the bottom line on this and that’s just unfortunate … We can’t afford to have this kind of violence,” he continued.
John Gaskin III, an NAACP official, explained that the police’s version of events was being treated with suspicion.
“there’s still a tremendous level of distrust between law enforcement and the community,” Gaskin said.
Until the shooting late Sunday evening, the protests were peaceful.
Harris said that his son knew Brown well.
“The pair were real close,” said Harris.
No charges have been brought against Darren Wilson, the cop who shot Brown last August.
On Monday, several people were arrested for blocking access to the local courthouse in an act of civil disobedience. Demonstrators chanted, “The people, united, will never be defeated!”