Smoke billows from canisters fired by police as they work to clear a street after the midnight curfew came into effect in Ferguson. REUTERS/Lucas
Police arrested seven protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, as
they imposed a curfew aimed at quelling days of violence that
erupted after an unarmed black teenager was shot dead by a
white police officer.
The latest confrontation occurred when demonstrators remained
in the streets of the St. Louis suburb after the curfew took
effect at midnight. Seven people were arrested for failing to
disperse, police said.
A person was shot and critically wounded during the night. It
was not clear why, and the shooter was still at large, police
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon imposed the curfew on Saturday
after a week of racially charged protests and looting over
the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson
police officer Darren Wilson.
The Ferguson police department has come under strong
criticism for both the shooting and its handling of its
aftermath. On Sunday U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
ordered a federal medical examiner to perform an autopsy, in
addition to one being conducted by state medical examiners.
Holder called for the federal autopsy "due to the
extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the
request of the Brown family," Justice Department spokesman
Brian Fallon said. The family is also planning to have a
pathologist conduct an independent examination of the body, a
family spokesman said.
Unrest in Ferguson flared anew on Friday after the local
police released a video showing the alleged participation by
Brown in a convenience store robbery shortly before the fatal
shooting. Police have said the officer who shot Brown had no
idea he was a robbery suspect.
Nixon slammed the decision to release the video.
"I think it had an incendiary effect," he said on CBS' "Face
the Nation," adding police "clearly are attempting to
besmirch a victim of a shooting."
As the curfew took effect on Saturday night, law enforcement
officials used loudspeakers to tell protesters to disperse.
Officers, equipped with gas masks and full-length shields,
stood among and on top of armored vehicles.
The person shot at a restaurant during the night was in
critical condition, Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron
Johnson said. Police were unable to identify the victim, who
he said was not shot by police.
Johnson, entrusted with restoring order by the governor, said
canisters of smoke and later teargas were fired as part of
police attempts to reach the victim of the shooting, "and not
in relation to the curfew." The wounded person 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.
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
'LEAST AMOUNT OF FORCE'
Nixon said that in spite of the clashes, the curfew was a
success and the community deserved credit.
"We are always disappointed when things are not perfect, but
thousands of people spoke last night, thousands of people
marched and not a single gunshot (was) fired by members of
the law enforcement," he told CNN's news show "State of the
Nixon said he did not know how long the curfew would be in
place. "We are trying to use the least amount of force to
provide people the ability to speak while also protecting
people's property," he said.
The clashes have pitted mostly black protesters against
mostly white police in a residential and retail district.
Civil rights activist Al Sharpton, who was set to lead a
rally with the dead teen's family on Sunday in Ferguson,
called for an end to violence and looting.
"We cannot change it by becoming like those that we fight,"
he said on his syndicated radio show "Hour of Power."
"I say to the young people, I understand your anger and you
have a right to be angry, but don't go mad and burn up your
Brown's death has been described in markedly different ways
by the police and by a friend who was walking with him at the
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
The friend, Dorian Johnson, 22, 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.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the St. Louis County
Police department are investigating.