By Jim Salter and Jim Suhr, AP
FERGUSON, Missouri–State militia reinforcements helped contain the latest protests in Ferguson, preventing a second night of the chaos that led to arson and looting after a grand jury decided not to indict the white police officer who killed an unarmed black 18-year-old, a case that has inflamed racial tensions in the U.S.
Demonstrators returned Tuesday to the riot-scarred streets of the St. Louis suburb. But with hundreds of additional troops standing watch over neighborhoods and businesses, the protests had far less destructive power than the previous night. However, officers still used some tear gas and pepper spray, and demonstrators set a squad car on fire and broke windows at City Hall.
As the tension in Ferguson eased somewhat, officer Darren Wilson broke his long public silence, insisting on national television that he could not have done anything differently in the confrontation with Michael Brown.
The governor ordered the initial force of 700 to be increased to 2,200 in hopes that their presence would help local law enforcement keep order in Ferguson. Protesters calling
��Peace for Ferguson�� Guard units protected the Ferguson Police Department and left crowd control, arrests and use of tear gas to local officers. In one commercial area Wednesday morning, a soldier was stationed at every few storefronts, and some were on rooftops.
Forty-four people were arrested, most for failure to disperse. Outside police headquarters, one woman was taken into custody after protesters hurled what appeared to be smoke bombs, flares and frozen water bottles at a line of officers. Several other protesters were arrested after defying police instructions to get out of the street or out of the way of police vehicles.
Protesters threw rocks, tent poles, and bottles �X some containing urine �X at officers. As the crowd dispersed early Wednesday, some threw rocks through the windows of a muffler shop and a used-car dealership near a painted mural that read ��Peace for Ferguson.��
Some streets that had been overrun the previous night were deserted, except for the occasional police cruiser or National Guard vehicle. Some Guard crews monitored empty parking lots.