Looting can often overshadow the narrative surrounding a protest.
And on Friday night, community members in Ferguson did their best to make sure that wouldn't happen.
After a night of relatively peaceful policing, Friday night marked an uptick in strife following the police's announcement of the identity of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, and released a video of Brown allegedly robbing a store, which seemed like an attempt to demonize him.
But many residents of Ferguson did not welcome the violence. They gathered outside stores to defend them from looters and keep things relatively in control.
Take a look:
"Ain't nobody going in this motherfucker, bro" - resident guarding beauty store pic.twitter.com/NMS55aH1Tg— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 16, 2014
Hundreds in the streets. Only a few dozen attempting to loot. Dozens more physically trying to prevent— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 16, 2014
Police presence: The police were less active in suppressing protests on Friday; Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said officers didn't want to raise tensions by going in after looters.
After the killing, police intervention is understandably unwanted by Ferguson protesters. And St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who was arrested on Wednesday, documented what was going on.
I want to be clear: Police not coming in at this point -- even with the looting -- was a good thing. It would've gotten very violent.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 16, 2014
It became so clear the awfulness of the situation. Communities need police. But here & now, the slightest police presence enrages people.— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 16, 2014
I'm really proud of those who ran to block looters. They tried to redirect back to the chant "Hands up! Don't shoot!" pic.twitter.com/dARQl1xTyx— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 16, 2014
It's easy to let the actions of a few obscure the peaceful intentions of the broader group. As the protesters made clear: They want justice, but also want an end to the chaos.