[News] Police raid Ferguson church for third time. Platoon of cops claim people illegally sleeping there

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Aug 22 13:31:19 EDT 2014

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:59 AM PDT

    Police raid Ferguson church for third time. Platoon of cops claim
    people illegally sleeping there

by Meteor Blades <http://www.dailykos.com/user/Meteor%20Blades>Follow 


Greater St. Mark's Church has seen a lot of cops lately and they haven't 
come by to pray.
For the third time since the police slaying of Michael Brown in 
Ferguson, Missouri, St. Louis County police raided the Greater St. Mark 
Church property Wednesday. Church leaders have allowed community 
activists to use the gymnasium of an abandoned private school on church 
property as a first aid station for treatment of people injured by tear 
gas in protests against the shooting of Brown. People could also get 
food and water there, and community activists used it to plan protest 

But all that apparently made it a special target for the cops whom one 
would think have enough on their plates in Ferguson not to be harassing 
a humanitarian operation.

Police claimed that people had been sleeping in the gym, something not 
allowed under city zoning and a violation of occupancy rules. According 
to eyewitnesses, more than 20 officers showed up to search the building 
just before noon Wednesday. Probably the first time in the city's 
history a platoon of cops has been sent to check out an alleged 
occupancy code violation. This time they didn't come armed with assault 
weapons as witnesses said has been the case in previous raids. Nor did 
they take away any supplies, something that observers say happened in 
Tuesday's raid.

A church volunteer, Marcel Williams, spoke with a local television 
about Wednesday's raid:

    "They looked like they were looking for someone in particular, just
    because of the depth of the search they were doing. No guns were
    drawn at the time or anything of that nature, but it was an
    intensive search," said Williams. [...]

    The church officials told News 4 nobody has been staying in the
    building overnight.

That wasn't the police version. In a statement 
issued Wednesday night, the St. Louis County Police Department said that 
when police searched the building: "It appeared that five to seven 
people [had been] sleeping in the facility but no one was present. [...] 
The representative stated that he would advise the individuals to 
leave." The statement also said there was no animosity displayed between 
the cops and the church representative.

In a video <http://instagram.com/p/r7f83rj9Gk> made after the police 
raid on Tuesday, Philip Agnew of the advocacy group Dream Defenders said:

    "But in no uncertain terms, this was a place where this community
    deemed, a place where we could come and feel---what? Safe. And what
    they did today was tell us what? There is no safety here."

It's unclear whether the protester in this video 
<http://instagram.com/p/r7feCuD9Fr> is correct in saying the police have 
"effectively" shut down the operation. A woman who answered the phone at 
the church Thursday morning told Daily Kos that she did not know whether 
the safe haven is still open and referred me to St. Mark's pastor, who 
had not returned the call by the time this was posted.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
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