Police defend response to protests

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By AP

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Updated: Thu, 14 Aug 2014 01:15:09 EST

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Police in Ferguson, Missouri, are defending their use of tear gas and smoke bombs, after another night of chaos in the St. Louis suburb in the aftermath of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Police say officers last night tossed tear gas to disperse a large crowd of protesters after some threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at officers. More than 10 people were arrested.

A police spokesman says it's "scary" for officers dealing with the protests -- who hear gunshots and "don't know where they're coming from."

But the response is drawing criticism. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton says the Justice Department should monitor the way the police are handling the crisis. And President Barack Obama said today that there's no excuse for the use of excessive force by police there. He also criticized police for taking two reporters into custody.

Among those arrested was St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been chronicling the protests on social media. He tells a radio station (KMOX) that what he calls the "heavy-handed approach by police" is "escalating the situation." And he says "more people are going to get hurt if this keeps up."

But county Police Chief Jon Belmar says his officers have responded with "an incredible amount of restraint."

%@AP Links

146-c-12-(Jim Salter, AP correspondent)-"any serious injuries"-AP correspondent Jim Salter reports on another night of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. (14 Aug 2014)

<<CUT *146 (08/14/14)££ 00:12 "any serious injuries"

147-c-08-(Jim Salter, AP correspondent)-"trying to walk"-AP correspondent Jim Salter reports some members of the Feguson community feel the police response has been overdone. (14 Aug 2014)

<<CUT *147 (08/14/14)££ 00:08 "trying to walk"

APPHOTO MOJR130: A protester kicks a smoke grenade deployed by police back in the direction of police, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing Molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (13 Aug 2014)

<<APPHOTO MOJR130 (08/13/14)££

APPHOTO MOSTP360: Terrell Williams E hugs his daughter Sharell, 9, while standing with his wife, Shamika Williams, and daughters Tamika, 6, and Sharell, 2, on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. They were overcome with emotion after Williams El confronted police. "I'm out here to stand for my children and their future," said Williams El. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson) (13 Aug 2014)

<<APPHOTO MOSTP360 (08/13/14)££

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