Police fired tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters in Ferguson, Mo., after a police car was set on fire near city hall tonight, officials said.
The parked patrol car was set ablaze after a crowd of several hundred people had gathered outside the Ferguson police station.
Police moved quickly to disperse the crowd when the car was set on fire, attempting to defuse the situation before it could escalate into a repeat of what happened Monday night after the announcement that a grand jury had decided not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, last August.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon today deployed more than 2,000 National Guardsmen to the streets, vowing to keep the peace.
The city was the site of looting and burning Monday night, after the grand jury announcement.
Earlier, several arrests were made, including two people from Oklahoma charged for unlawful assembly and resisting arrest, according to the St. Louis County Police.
Fewer than 100 protesters blocked intersections around Ferguson sporadically during the evening, the Associated Press reported.
“The violence we saw last night cannot be repeated,” Nixon said earlier. He called the aftermath a “heartbreaking sight,” and said “seniors are afraid to leave the house and children are afraid to go out and play… We must do better and we will.”
The governor’s move came shortly after Ferguson Mayor James Knowles criticized the governor’s decision to wait to send the National Guard into the protests after the grand jury decision was announced to clear Police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of teenager Michael Brown.
The mayor also asked that there be stepped up protections tonight.
“We must be prepared ahead of time. We must be prepared for the absolute worst,” he said.
Knowles said the National Guard was not deployed ahead of time Monday night, a move he said cost the city.
“Unfortunately as unrest grew and further assistance was needed, the National Guard was not deployed in enough time to save all of our businesses,” said Knowles, adding it’s “deeply concerning.”
He said that by waiting to send in the National Guard to provide assistance for the law enforcement officers already on the ground, protesters were able to do more damage to private property and local businesses.
“Some of these businesses have been hit twice,” Knowles said.
At least a dozen businesses were burned along with a couple of police cars during Monday night’s protests, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said earlier today.
“We reached out both through unified control and through political channels to make it known we needed more assets,” Knowles said of his office’s efforts to get the National Guard sent in as soon as property began being attacked.