Skip to main content

Missouri governor imposes curfew in Ferguson, declares emergency

By Ralph Ellis, Jason Hanna and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN
updated 7:09 PM EDT, Sat August 16, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Curfew to be imposed from midnight to 5 a.m.
  • "We want justice!" community members shout at governor
  • Highway patrol captain: "We won't enforce it with trucks, we won't enforce it with tear gas"
  • Resident of Ferguson is skeptical that the curfew will be effective

Have you documented the protests in Ferguson? Share your photos, videos and opinions with CNN iReport. For local coverage of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown and its aftermath, go to CNN affiliates KMOV, KSDK, KTVI and KPLR.

Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Saturday declared a state of emergency and implemented a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew in Ferguson, where the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager sparked a week of protests and sporadic looting.

"I'm committed to making sure the forces of peace and justice prevail," Nixon said at a community meeting. "If we're going to achieve justice, we first must have and maintain peace."

But the meeting at a local church at times was tumultuous.

People repeatedly interrupted Nixon, shouting, "You need to charge the police with murder!" and "We want justice!"

And some residents said law enforcement officers had instigated the violence with their military-like tactics.

Looting, tensions dash peace in Ferguson
Protesters, police standoff in Ferguson
Friend of Darren Wilson: 'He was scared'
Family attorney: Store video 'irrelevant'
Chief: Officer maybe saw stolen cigars

State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, in charge of security for the town, praised local citizens who tried to stop the looting of several businesses early Saturday. He said law enforcement would not be heavy-handed in enforcing the curfew.

"We won't enforce it with trucks, we won't enforce it with tear gas," he said.

But at least one resident was skeptical about whether the curfew would work.

"It's an intimidation thing. And you're basically suppressing people who still have questions that need answers," said Carissa McGraw, who has joined protests throughout the week. "You have people who -- at this point -- do not care what authorities say right now."

Michael Brown killed a week ago

Ferguson, a town of about 22,000 people near St. Louis, entered the national consciousness on August 9 when a white police officer, identified as Darren Wilson, shot and killed and Michael Brown, 18, on a city street during the middle of the day.

Accounts of what happened vary widely. Police said Brown struggled with the officer and reached for his weapon. Several witnesses said Brown raised his hands and was not attacking the officer.

Since then, Ferguson has become a tinder box, with regular street protests, an influx of heavily armed law enforcement officers and intense media coverage.

A new development in the investigation popped up Saturday when a Brown family lawyer, Anthony Gray, said that Michael Baden will conduct a second autopsy on the the teenager's body. Baden is a high-profile pathologist who testified in the O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and Drew Peterson trials.

Early Saturday morning, before sunrise, a fragile peace was shattered when looters again targeted neighborhood businesses while law enforcement in riot gear largely looked on without intervening.

Some protesters tried to stop the looting, at times standing in front of one convenience store and preventing others from doing more damage. Police, criticized days earlier for being too aggressive with protesters, now drew the ire of merchants who told CNN they weren't doing enough.

"You still have a job to do now, and now you're not doing your job," Tanya Littleton said of police after thieves broke into her beauty supply shop in the St. Louis suburb and made off with bags of hair extensions worth hundreds of dollars.

Protesters march in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday, August 21. The St. Louis suburb has been in turmoil since a white police officer, Darren Wilson, fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on August 9. Some protesters and law enforcement officers have clashed in the streets, leading to injuries and arrests. Protesters march in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday, August 21. The St. Louis suburb has been in turmoil since a white police officer, Darren Wilson, fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on August 9. Some protesters and law enforcement officers have clashed in the streets, leading to injuries and arrests.
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Emotions run high in Ferguson Photos: Emotions run high in Ferguson
Police chief: 'I had to release' tape
Are these Michael Brown's final moments?

At noon Saturday -- the hour that police say Wilson shot Brown a week earlier -- protesters outside the police station silently raised their arms into the air, mimicking Brown's purported actions right before he died.

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson joined loud but peaceful crowds that marched in the street carrying signs saying "Mike Brown is our son" and "The whole world is watching Ferguson." They chanted "Hands up, don't shoot" and "Hey hey, ho ho, killer cops have got to go."

Looting earlier in the day

The looting began at the Ferguson Market and Liquor store, which has become part of the case. Minutes before Brown was shot, police say, a man fitting his description allegedly stole cigars and roughed up a store clerk as surveillance cameras recorded.

Ferguson police released surveillance video of that robbery on Friday, but then emphasized that Wilson stopped Brown not because of the theft, but because Brown and a friend were "walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic."

Release of the video on Friday angered some, who say police were using it to distract from Brown's killing and make him look bad.

As protesters took to the streets early Saturday, more than two dozen people blocked off the convenience store with cars. Police with riot gear, tactical rifles and armored vehicles were nearby, commanding them through loudspeakers to free it up.

Instead, bottles flew, mayhem erupted, and looters ransacked the store, which the owner had boarded up. It was the first of at least three stores raided.

5 things to know about Michael Brown's shooting

Complete coverage of the Ferguson shooting

Opinion: How many unarmed people have to die?

CNN's Ralph Ellis and Jason Hanna reported and wrote from Atlanta, and Shimon Prokupecz and Steve Kastenbaum reported from Ferguson. CNN's Evan Perez, Joe Sutton, Ben Brumfield, Jennifer Duck and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Follow our complete coverage of the protests and aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
updated 3:53 PM EST, Sun December 14, 2014
The grand jury in the case of Michael Brown's shooting heard from witnesses who couldn't be believed at all.
updated 9:12 PM EST, Fri December 12, 2014
Their sons have become symbols of a raging national conversation about police brutality and racial injustice.
updated 6:30 PM EST, Mon December 8, 2014
Charles Barkley -- who once said he doesn't create controversies, he just brings them to our attention -- is at it again.
updated 10:16 AM EST, Mon December 1, 2014
It's the picture we needed to see after a week like this.
updated 1:07 PM EST, Sun November 30, 2014
The resignation comes five days after a grand jury decided not to indict the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer for killing Michael Brown.
updated 9:32 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
In a classic study on race, psychologists staged an experiment with two photographs that produced a surprising result.
updated 8:00 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Did Officer Wilson shoot Michael Brown dead as he staggered to the ground, hobbled by gunshot wounds? Or, did the 18-year-old aggressively charge at Wilson?
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson said that he's not tormented by that fateful encounter in suburban St. Louis last summer.
News about the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson spread quickly nationwide, spurring spontaneous rallies. See a collection of reactions from across the country.
If you are in Ferguson or have witnessed protests where you live, share your story with CNN. Personal essays and video commentary are also welcome.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Transcripts of testimony that jurors heard considering Michael Brown's death have been released to the public.
updated 4:15 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Photos of Officer Wilson taken after his altercation with Michael Brown have been released.
updated 7:34 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
His mother ran down the street, tears streaming down her face. His father said he was "devastated."
updated 7:13 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
All eyes and ears were on St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch when he announced there would be no indictment.
updated 7:01 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
As tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, have bubbled, one official after another has taken the lead, grappling to figure out how to stop it from coming to a boil.
updated 10:34 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
See images of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
"He was funny, silly. He would make you laugh. He'd bring people back together," his father, Michael Brown Sr., told reporters.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT