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Watch Ferguson police bombard fleeing protesters with tear gas

The police operation in Ferguson, Missouri, escalated dramatically Wednesday night, with riot gear-clad officers scattering tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who'd ignored their order to head home. Law enforcement officers also jailed a St. Louis alderman, arrested — then released, without charges — two reporters, and allegedly intimidated other journalists in the area.

Here, raw footage from the Associated Press of one confrontation where officers can be seen firing round after round of tear gas into a fleeing crowd:

The worsening fallout from the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, has sparked a discussion about the militarization of local police forces, and whether war zone hardware has any place on America's streets.