Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri attacked one of their own on Friday night, sending a student who attended a church meeting supporting slain teenager Michael Brown to the hospital on Thursday.
Chris Schaefer, a senior at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, told Buzzfeed News Nov. 8 that he was attacked by five men at a gathering in a church where protesters were set to discuss how to conduct future demonstrations.
Mr. Schaefer was told not to live video stream the event, which he said seemed ‘suspicious.’ He obeyed, and sat in one of the pews, then noticed people around him discreetly moving away.
“All of the sudden one guy ran up to me and pointed and said he’s live streaming. Four others joined him,” Mr. Schaefer said. “They slammed me against the exit door of the church, so I stumbled out. The guy who was in the front hit me a couple times in the face. I fell to the ground and I was stunned.”
Mr. Schaefer said the men continued to beat him, kicking and hitting him as he tried to block their attacks with his arms.
Eventually “five to ten” others intervened and helped Mr. Schaefer escape.
“They actually pointed at the road and said run. So I ran,” Mr. Schaefer told Buzzfeed.
After he was unable to flag down a car on the road, Mr. Schaefer hid in bushes and a convenience store where he encountered his attackers again. He made it in to a Walgreens, where a store clerk called 911.
Mr. Schaefer was taken to a hospital and managed to escape with minor cuts and bruises. He has launched a crowd sourcing “Go Fund Me” page to pay for his hospital bills.
Another attendee at the church event, Patricia Bynes, witnessed the attack and corroborated it to authorities on Friday. Ms. Bynes said the attackers appeared to be members of Lost Voices, a protest group that formed shortly after Mr. Brown was killed, Buzzfeed reported.
Mr. Schaefer has been live streaming events in Ferguson since October to show viewers what is happening on the ground in the area.
Mr. Schaefer said there is unrest amongst protesters and that the movement is not entirely unified. He said that there are groups of people who wish for the demonstrations to remain peaceful but other “agitators” have divided the issue on racial lines.
Tensions among residents are rising as the community awaits a grand jury’s decision on the indictment of Officer Darren Wilson who shot Mr. Brown.
“Definitely the feeling probably among 95 percent of the people is that Darren Wilson will be released,” Mr. Schaefer said.