Gov. Jay Nixon Declares Curfew In Ferguson To Curb Looting
Thursday night was a calm one in Ferguson, Missouri, where protests have continued around-the-clock since the death of Michael Brown. But on Friday, looting and violence reportedly broke out throughout the small St. Louis suburb, causing Gov. Jay Nixon to enact a curfew in Ferguson. The governor also declared a state of emergency for the grieving town, which is currently under control of Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson. The captain said the curfew will be in effect from midnight to 5 a.m. each day.
According to The Associated Press, the governor made it clear that the curfew was not a response to the peaceful protests thrown by residents, but to the looting that's currently placing the community at risk. Nixon told reporters on Saturday:
We must first have and maintain peace. This is a test of whether a community, this community, any community, can break the cycle of fear, distrust and violence, and replace them with peace, strength and, ultimately, justice. The eyes of the world are watching. We cannot allow the ill will of the few to undermine the good will of the many.
Nixon, who made the announcement at a local church along with Johnson, added that the Department of Justice is escalating its investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown. Johnson said about 40 FBI agents are currently in Ferguson, going door-to-door to gather reports and eyewitness testimony.
Friday night's chaos may have been sparked by the release of the name of the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Brown last Saturday. The officer, 28-year-old Darren Wilson, is reportedly a six-year veteran of the force. He has been placed on administrative leave.
Reuters reports that the violence may have flared Friday due to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson's claim that Brown was a suspect in a convenience store robbery at the time he was stopped by Wilson. However, Jackson acknowledged that Wilson didn't know Brown was a suspect, and allegedly stopped him "walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic."
Still, Ferguson residents were angered, calling the release of documents and surveillance footage identifying Brown as the robbery suspect a "smear campaign." According to CNN, Brown's family wasn't notified ahead of time about the documents or surveillance footage. "It's a diversion, and it's an attempt to smear Michael's character," Eric Davis, a cousin of Brown's mother Lesley McSpadden, told CNN.
Meanwhile, protests continued in the streets of Ferguson on Saturday. Although media reports said tear gas were used on protesters Friday night, Johnson insisted that no violent tactics will be used by his patrol force this weekend.
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