Ferguson Curfew: 200 Protesters Defy Deadline; One Person Shot, 7 Arrested
Ferguson was under curfew until early Sunday, hours after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in the town following fresh clashes the previous night. But hundreds of protesters defied the curfew at the site where a black teen, Michael Brown, was fatally shot by an officer last week.
Hundreds of demonstrators left the area before midnight, when the curfew took effect in Ferguson, but "couple hundred" refused to vacate the site, The Associated Press reported.
CNN reports that one person was shot and seven arrested during the first night that a curfew was imposed in the city that has become a flash point for racial tension.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon Saturday declared a state of emergency and implemented a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew in the town.
The protesters who remained got together and shouted slogans against police, who were dressed in riot gear but kept their distance apparently to avoid yet another clash.
"You are in violation of a state-imposed curfew. You must disperse immediately. Failure to comply, may result in arrest," police were quoted as telling the crowd using loud speakers. Police then fired smoke into the crowd.
"They got guns. We got guns. We are ready," Jayson Ross, a leaders of the demonstrations, was quoted as saying.
Earlier on Saturday, Gov. Nixon was part of a community meeting at a church in the St. Louis suburb. "I'm committed to making sure the forces of peace and justice prevail," he was quoted as saying at the meeting. "If we're going to achieve justice, we first must have and maintain peace."
However, some people attending the meeting repeatedly interrupted the governor, shouting, "You need to charge the police with murder!" and "We want justice!" CNN reported.
Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said the decision to impose curfew will be reviewed on a daily basis.
The governor's announcement of the emergency and curfew followed fresh clashes late Friday and early Saturday.
Police told the groups of protesters to disperse and pointed guns at the crowd late Friday, according to Post-Dispatch. In response, some protesters pointed cameras at police, and a few others threw bottles at police.
Police eventually left the area but after throwing smoke bombs and sound cannons at the crowd.
Later in the night, protesters broke into the convenience store from where 18-year-old Brown had allegedly stolen cigars moments before he was shot dead on Aug. 9.
On Friday, police identified the officer who shot Brown as Darren Wilson. Police also released pictures of a male that looks similar in appearance to Brown strong-arming a smaller man inside a convenience store.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said at a press conference Friday that the officer was responding to a 911 call about the robbery of a $48.99 box of cigars, according to AP. Dorian Johnson, a friend of Brown, also admitted through his attorney that he and Brown had taken part in the theft of cigars, according to MSNBC.
However, Brown's family alleged that police were seeking to divert people's attention away from the shooting. Family attorney, Daryl Parks, said the man shown in the footage released by police "appears to be" Brown. But the family asked why he was shot even after he put up his hands in surrender to the officer.
"There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender," the family said in a statement.
The officer has had no complaints lodged against him in the past.
Ferguson police chief said the officer did not know Brown was a suspect when he stopped him and his friend last weekend. They were stopped "because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic," he said, adding that it was during the encounter that the officer saw the cigars in Brown's hands.
The officer, who has been on administrative leave since the shooting, allegedly received injuries to his face during the encounter with Brown.
Brown's friend, Johnson, earlier said that the officer pointed a gun at Brown and said, "I'll shoot." The officer fired shots after Brown held his hands up.