Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency, curfew in Ferguson - KCTV5

Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency, curfew in Ferguson

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FERGUSON, MO (KMOV/AP) -

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and curfew in Ferguson after multiple police agencies were called to Ferguson early Saturday morning following reports of violence.

Nixon said that though many protesters were making themselves heard peacefully, the state would not allow a handful of looters to endanger the community. The curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m.

"We must first have and maintain peace. This is a test. The eyes of the world are watching," Nixon said. "We cannot allow the ill will of the few to undermine the good will of the many."

Tensions in Ferguson flared late Friday after police released the name of the officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown and documents alleging Brown robbed a store before he died.

Nixon also said the U.S. Department of Justice is beefing up its investigation of the shooting.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is in charge of security in Ferguson, said there were 40 FBI agents going door-to-door starting Saturday, talking to people who might have seen or have information about the shooting.

Nixon and Johnson spoke at a church in Ferguson, where they were interrupted repeatedly by people demanding justice and objecting to the curfew.

Johnson assured those in attendance that police would communicate with protesters and give them ample opportunity to observe the curfew.

"You saw people sitting in the street and they had the chance to get up," he said. "And that's how it's going to continue."

Overnight Friday into Saturday about 200 protesters clashed with police at the height of the disturbance at the Ferguson Market, where they began looting. Police said they tried to set the store on fire.

St. Louis County Police tell News 4 there has been more looting of stores near West Florissant. According to police, a liquor store, an electronics store, and a beauty supply store were looted.

About 100 police officers in riot gear moved in to disperse the crowd. One officer was injured by a thrown brick or rock.

Police said there was also at least one shooting victim rushed to Christian Northeast Hospital. No other details about that shooting have been released, other than it took place at the intersection of West Florissant and Canfield Drive.

At one point, protesters locked their arms and turned their backs to police.

There are reports that peaceful protesters, including Alderman Antonio French, attempted to calm tensions. Groups were seen blocking entrances to local stores to keep looters from entering.

There are no official reports of arrests being made. As looting occurred, police dressed in riot gear mainly stood and watched, apparently under orders not to engage.

News 4's Russell Kinsaul reported police arrived on scene around 6:15 a.m. to make sure only authorized people were inside businesses as well as clearing parking lots.

Community members also arrived to start the clean-up process for businesses damaged by looters.

Brown's death had already ignited several days of clashes with furious protesters. Tensions eased Thursday after Nixon turned oversight of the protests over to the Missouri Highway Patrol. Gone were the police in riot gear and armored vehicles, replaced by the new patrol commander who personally walked through the streets with demonstrators. But Friday night marked a resurgence of unrest.

Local officers faced strong criticism earlier in the week for their use of tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters. Johnson said one tear gas canister was deployed Friday night after the group of rioters became unruly.

The officer who killed Brown was identified as 28-year-old Darren Wilson, a six-year police veteran who had no previous complaints filed against him.

The Ferguson Police Department has refused to say anything about Wilson's whereabouts, and Associated Press reporters were unable to contact him at any addresses or phone numbers listed under that name in the St. Louis area.

Wilson has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting. St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch said it could be weeks before the investigation wraps up.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley asked Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on Friday to take over the case, saying he did not believe McCulloch could be objective. Koster said Missouri law does not allow it unless McCulloch opts out, and McCulloch spokesman Ed Magee said the prosecutor has no plans to surrender the case.

Copyright 2014 KMOV (Meredith Corp.) and the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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