Artez Hurston is curled up on a concrete bench in a Missouri jail cell, fast asleep. He snoozes peacefully, despite the fact that just a few hours ago he was staring down the barrel of a gun. His slumber wouldn’t be that noteworthy except that our cramped cell, with its bright lights and white bricks, is filled with about a dozen wired young men still buzzing over their recent arrests in a nationally televised display of explosive civil unrest. At least two of them are bleeding. One man is missing a shirt. Another’s is stained white with the residue of tear gas.

The prisoners make no effort to keep quiet as they replay the night’s events. There’s laughter and shit-talking. The military guys—two veterans, one on reserve—swap stories of their deployments, while another prisoner pulls out a pack of menthols that the guards missed and passes them around. One of the men says he was walking home from work when cops pounced on him. Most of the others, it turns out, were arrested together, as they piled into vehicles in an attempt to escape the mad scene on W. Florissant Ave. [Read more]

 

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