St. Louis County police officers visited and entered the school adjacent to the city’s Greater St Marks Family Church with a building inspector that protesters have been using as a “safe haven” Wednesday. Although the building inspector let the police in, police seemed to be unwelcome by the clergy and organizers using the space. The building has been offering medical help for people during the protests, holding de-escalation and street medic sessions, and housing medical supplies like first aid kits and Maalox that help people affected by tear gas.
Police officers claim there were reports that people were sleeping in the building; organizers say this isn’t true and no one stayed overnight. One organizer told Elon James the officers “closed the building and informed the pastor that if anyone was on the premises tonight, there would be arrests.”
According to organizers, it’s the third time police officers have shown up at the safe haven and say that the police announced that they would be coming back. Organizer Aaron Burnett told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “they’ve been intimidating us for the last few days.”
The night before, on Tuesday, multiple organizers and journalists on the ground said that police showed up to the school while organizers were having an organizing meeting and pointed semi-automatic weapons at people inside. Elon James took to Instagram to explain:
The prepared materials James is referring to are cartons of milk on the table behind him (which helps with soothe the effects of tear gas). He also tweeted about what was happening:
Cops rolled up on St. Marks and pulled guns. Saying organizes were inciting folks by prepping them for cop attacks. #Ferguson
— Elon James White (@elonjames) August 20, 2014