December 21, 2014
Missouri governor declares emergency, sets curfew in Ferguson
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in Ferguson following a week-long series of racially charged protests and looting over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.
The streets must be emptied starting at midnight for a curfew that will run until 5 am until further notice, according to Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, named by the governor to oversee security in the suburban St. Louis community that has been roiled by the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
"The eyes of the world are watching. This is the 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," Nixon said in remarks made at a church near Ferguson.
Some in the crowd gathered at the church reacted angrily to the news and one interrupted the governor's remarks, shouting that the police officer who killed Brown must be charged with murder to bring peace to the community.
Earlier today, people marching through city streets held signs that read "black lives matter," and "Don't shoot."
For days, Brown's family and supporters have demanded the name of the officer, which police repeatedly refused to release. That changed on Friday when Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson identified Wilson as the officer involved.
Other law enforcement agencies criticized the Ferguson police department for trying to make the alleged robbery an issue connected to the shooting and for releasing a video from inside the store that shows Brown violently shoving a store clerk before he walks out the door.
"We had no involvement whatsoever in releasing that video," said Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department, which is leading the local investigation into the Brown shooting.
Neither the governor's office nor the state highway patrol were involved in the decision either, said Scott Holste, a spokesman for Governor Nixon.