Protesters march during ongoing demonstrations in reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
One person was shot and critically wounded and seven arrested
as police in Ferguson, Missouri, clashed with protesters when
a curfew was imposed following days of unrest over a black
teenager being shot dead by a white police officer.
Scores of demonstrators had remained in the streets after the
curfew took effect at midnight (local time). Law enforcement
officials used loudspeakers to warn protesters to disperse
immediately. Officers, equipped with gas masks and
full-length shields, stood among and on top of armored
Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and
announced the five-hour curfew after a week of racially
charged protests and looting over the shooting of 18-year-old
Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, 28,
in the suburban St. Louis community in the Midwest U.S. state
on Aug. 9.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said the
person shot at a restaurant was in critical condition. Police
were unable to identify the victim, who he said was not shot
by police, and that the alleged shooter was still at large.
Seven people were also arrested for failing to disperse after
the curfew took effect.
Johnson said canisters of smoke and later teargas were fired
as part of police attempts to reach the victim of the
restaurant shooting, "and not in relation to the curfew." The
shooting victim was taken to hospital by bystanders before
police could reach him.
Johnson also said someone had shot at a passing police car
but was not apprehended, adding "I was disappointed in the
actions of tonight," noting "the crowds we've had for the
last two nights (were) citizens obeying, protesting."
The smoke and teargas canisters largely dispersed the crowd,
some of whom had been chanting "No justice, no curfew, no
peace", while others implored the crowd not to move forward
On Saturday evening the mood among the protesters on a main
road in Ferguson had been tense and defiant following days of
demonstrations and some looting.
"The curfew is going to make things worse," said protester
Phones Scott, 24. "I think the cops are going to get violent
tonight, but they can't lock us all up."
Tensions had been running high over the past week but
escalated on Friday, pitting mostly black protesters against
mostly white police as the demonstrators overran a
residential and retail district that has become a center of
Brown's family and supporters have demanded that the officer
who shot Brown be held accountable. The U.S. Department of
Justice is investigating the shooting for any civil rights
violations, and the St. Louis County Police department has
also launched a probe.
The police version of how Brown was shot differs from witness
accounts, including that of the friend who was walking with
Brown at the time, Dorian Johnson, 22.
Police say that after Wilson asked Brown to move out of the
road onto a sidewalk, Brown reached into the patrol car and
struggled with Wilson for the officer's service gun. Wilson,
who sustained a facial injury, then shot Brown a number of
Johnson and at least one other witness have said the officer
reached out through his car window to grab at Brown and the
teenager was trying to get away from the officer when he was
shot. Brown held up his hands in a sign of surrender but the
officer got out of his patrol car and shot Brown several
times, they said.
FBI agents were at the scene of Brown's shooting on Saturday
interviewing residents. Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson
also visited the site, leading a prayer near a makeshift
memorial to Brown just a few feet from where he died.
The Reverend Al Sharpton has said he would lead a rally with
Brown's family in Ferguson on Sunday.