Many have been criticizing the police response as over militaristic, part of a trend in Police Militarization. Police have been using heavy armored vehicles, heavy body armor, sniper rifles, and other high-powered equipment against the unarmed protesters.
Here is helmetcam video from St. Louis Post-Dispatch photojournalist David Carson who was embedded with a tactical team on Monday 2014-08-18. It shows officers firing teargas and activating an LRAD sound cannon.
Wooden baton rounds are being used. https://twitter.com/jonswaine/status/499219813575557121
"Mini bang" rounds are being used. https://twitter.com/jonswaine/status/499759502325850113
Police are using armored vehicles as portable barriers to try to control the stage of operations in the middle of suburban streets. This interactive panorama shows police positioned opposite a crowd of protesters in front of the QuickTrip.
One of the APCs in action may be a BEARCAT (Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck), a popular APC used by other police departments such as OPD in Oakland, CA. The St Louis County PD acquired a Bearcat in 2012. "The agency used homeland security grants to purchase the Bearcat for $360,000. The agency also equipped the vehicle with a plated platform that can be elevated 17 feet."
40mm .60 cal "Sting-Ball" rubber pellets are being used. http://instagram.com/p/rqqov2irsz/
Here is an example of an injury reportedly from one of these rounds (warning: graphic) http://instagram.com/p/rqohIxoXhZ/
These are fired in clusters from grenades called sting balls
Bean Bag Guns
40 gram projectiles fired out of a 12 guage shotgun and potentially fatal, according to the spec sheet. Local NBC affiliate said a member of their photo crew was hit by one. Used cartridges were found on the ground.
Guns that fire bean bags are sometimes orange and say "Less Lethal" on them (while still looking like shotguns). Learn more about this type of gun.
Long Range Acoustic Device
Police in Ferguson are using Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) (6:44 on this video from a protestor livestreaming in Ferguson)
LRAD weapons were deployed on Sunday August 17, 2014. (St Louis Post-Dispatch)
Tear Gas used on Protesters, Reporters, and Neighborhoods
Police have been using tear gas and smoke bombs to disperse crowds and to keep reporters out (see: Media Blackout).
Tear gas canisters are launched by 6-round 40mm grenade launchers like this one.
CS gas is being used. A cannister: http://instagram.com/p/rqvjlJCrhz
At 1:23 in this video you can see local police equipped with gas masks
Video by protesters where police approach and then the tear gas starts:
The night of 8/18 protests (early morning of 8/19), police were driving through residential neighborhoods shooting tear gas (even when there were no protesters around). [@rdevro <= one of the arrested journalists]. Elon James captured video of this.
Tear gas grenades
Han-Ball Grenades [spec sheet], manufactured by Defense Technology are being used by police. This grenade was found on the night of August 14, 2014. https://twitter.com/WesleyLowery/status/500537457780477954
This Triple Chaser smoke device, Defense Technology part number 1026. Night of August 14, 2014. https://twitter.com/phampel/status/500543061965828096 described here http://www.defense-technology.com/pdfs/specs/Triple%20Chaser.pdf
Pepper spray (OC-V)
The FAA issued NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) FDC 4/2599 on August 12, 2014 creating a no fly-zone around Ferguson.
Here's the main page about the No-Fly Zone.
The FAA issued the directive at the request of St. Louis County Policy and the stated reason was "TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES".
The police explained their request to the FAA by saying that a police helicopter had taken fire the night before.
Police used German shepherds on protesters at least on Aug. 10 (can anyone confirm use of dogs on other days?).
Here's video of dogs being used on protesters (link):
Here's an article that includes that video and the above photograph.
On Tuesday 2014-08-19, dogs were again out among the crowds.
During the protests on the evening of 8/18, police were turning out streetlights and using night vision [source]. In addition to making it difficult for protesters to see what was going on while letting police see unimpeded, darkness prevents video and photography.
It has become very common for police to point guns at people as an intimidation tactic to terrorize citizens, protesters, journalists, and observers into complying with police orders and preventing reasonable refusal of improper and unjustified police demands.
- 2014-08-20 "Police just charged into the McDonald's and are pointing guns at people" --Yamiche
- 2014-08-20 "Police charge crowd, pointing guns at the chests of reporters and protesters, then move on." --alexanderbolton
- 2014-08-20 "The police are pointing guns at journalists and threatening to kill them. Your tax dollars at work." --minossec (Greg Thomas)
- 2014-08-18 "Police were pointing guns at Amnesty International peacemakers. Bravo America, bravo. This is utterly shameful." --TheEyeOfControl
- 2014-08-20 A police officer caught on video pointing a gun at protesters was suspended.