'It was an intensive search'; police keeping close tab on Ferguson church

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by Ruella Rouf / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on August 20, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 20 at 6:41 PM

FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Volunteers of the Greater St. Mark Church in Ferguson said they have been running a safe location for protesters that was recently raided by police.

Volunteers confirmed that several organizations have been using the church as a meeting ground to alleviate the tensions in Ferguson and to help people refocus their energy in a different way. But they said police have been working to intimidate them and stop their efforts.

Marcell Williams said she was waiting in the parking lot to speak to the pastor of the Greater St. Mark Church when she saw 20 to 30 police officers stop by around 12:00 p.m. Wednesday.

“They looked like they were looking for someone in particular, just because of the depth of the search they were doing. No guns were drawn at the time or anything of that nature, but it was an intensive search,” said Williams.

Aaron Burnett said he has an idea why police have been following the building closely. A building inspector or manager said a call was made regarding an occupancy permit for people occupying the space.

The church officials told News 4 nobody has been staying in the building overnight. However, police later said a representative of the church told them that several people had been staying there, but that he was unaware that the building had not been zoned for occupancy. 

Police said the church representative said he would advise those who have staying at the church to leave.

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