Ferguson, Missouri: On the Ground in an American City Under Siege


“Honestly feel like it was a good idea, because again, I’ve been out here almost all day every day. I haven’t slept because I’ve been out here responding to different calls about fires, looting, violence,” he said. “When they announced the curfew my initial thought was that everyone was going to follow the curfew. Once I got out here and really the consensus was that no one was going to be following the curfew.”

Saturday, 11:49 p.m. – 9 minutes before curfew – Haiku had just left a meeting with protesters who were planning to stay out.

“I already know that the police are on stand-by because we actually left to have this meeting about what we were going to do, and they had different areas blocked off when we tried to come back,” he said. “My phone is blazing off the hook. I got people telling me ‘Let’s go!’”

On Sunday, Haiku hit the streets again, and came across more protests, one of which he said felt more like a block party.

“Earlier in the morning in the daylight, people were out here protesting you know but right now you’ve got a lot of partying,” he said. “I’m starting to get the feeling from a lot of people you know that are here for their own agenda and coming out with signs of their own Twitter address and you know their shirts promoting something and they’re passing out flyers for this and that … and it’s not – they’re starting to forget what the cause is.”

“The reason that we’re out here is because this is the scene where the execution of Mike Brown took place and we want justice, we want his killer arrested,” he added. “I don’t get that feeling from a lot of people out here, it just doesn’t have that protest feeling.”

Sunday was also the day the results of Brown’s private autopsy were released, revealing that he had been shot six times by officer Darren Wilson. Even still, Haiku thought protesters would heed the curfew on Sunday night, more so than they did Saturday night.

“I think the police have established that they are not bluffing about curfew so I don’t think there’s going to be as much of a turnout after midnight tonight like there was last night.”

Sunday evening, as the second midnight curfew approached, Haiku documented police gathering to prepare for another night of violent clashes.

“It looks like the police are positioning themselves to block off West Florence once again--it looks like they’re trying to clear everybody off of these side streets, give them some time to do that before they actually block it off.”

And clashes between police and protesters did break out. While marching peacefully Sunday, Haiku met up with a friend, who was fresh from a standoff with police.

Haiku said he will not stop documenting the protests on the streets of Ferguson.

“I’m going to stand with the people,” he said. “I’m going to stand with the people because it basically is going to boil down to the police, who have been excessive, and they don’t care about me, because they’ve already gassed me, they’ve already shot people standing next to me, so if it comes down to choosing sides I’m choosing the people.”

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