FERGUSON, Mo. (WWJ) – One Detroit man was among those arrested overnight in Ferguson, Missouri, where there have been nightly protests over the shooting death of an unarmed teenager by police.
According to the Ferguson Police Department, 23-year-old Dennis Black was one of seven people taken into custody for “refusing to disperse.”
Black — a senior at Wayne State University studying political science — said he wasn’t protesting, but was simply there to observe with as part of a delegation with the National Lawyer’s Guild.
Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950 after he was released from police custody, Black the group had just began videotaping a large group of police officers standing next to a couple of mine-resistant armored vehicle when he was arrested.
“First thing was not to get shot, because there was about 50 officers with about 30 assault weapons, you know, it was like military,” he said. “It was full body armor, so, it wasn’t really like the cops were arresting me; it was like the military was arresting me.”
Black is confused by the “refusing to disperse” charge.
“We were outside of the protest; so, if disperse means to, like, leave a group of people…there was no one to leave from, because we wasn’t a part of the demonstration,” Black said.
Black and others were held at a police station for a few hours, ticketed and released.
According to police, Black was the only Detroiter arrested; but there are reports that two more people from Detroit were apprehended.
The protests, which began following 18-year-old Michael Brown’s shooting death on Aug. 9, been more subdued in recent days — with Missouri’s governor ordering the National Guard to start pulling back.
Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said that there were seven total arrests on Thursday. Most of those who have been arrested in protests following the shooting are from out-of-state, police say.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig says he is angry over recent implications by some in the media that Detroit “could be the next Ferguson, Missouri,” — calling such statements dangerous and irresponsible.
Among those who have been talking about the Ferguson case in Michigan is U.S. Congressman John Conyers (MI-13), who says “serious and sweeping civil rights violations” may have taken place in the small, Missouri town that’s “under what is essentially martial law.”
“Tear gas and rubber bullets are being used against everyday citizens,” Conyers said, in statement, adding that Brown’s “tragic killing” and events since the shooting “are reminiscent of the violent altercations that took place during the Civil Rights Movement.”
Earlier this week in Detroit, an unruly man who was “citing the issues in Ferguson” was pepper-sprayed and arrested after he crossed a police line.
Follow complete coverage of the situation in Ferguson on our sister site, CBS St. Louis.