US: Curfew imposed for second night in Ferguson, Missouri

18th Aug 2014


Authorities in Missouri have re-imposed a curfew amid unrest over the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown. State Governor Jay Nixon has condemned the release of footage indicating Brown took part in a robbery.

Officials on Sunday imposed a midnight curfew for a second consecutive night in the St. Louis suburb where teen Michael Brown was shot dead by police last week.

Police blocked off at least one Ferguson street to vehicles before sunset, as protesters started to gather. There were initial reports that shots were fired, and that tear gas had been used, ahead of the ceasefire.

Authorities say they plan to decide on the extension of the midnight to 5 a.m. (0500 to 1000 UTC) curfew on a daily basis, amid reports of violence and looting since the 18-year-old’s death.

Witnesses claim the teenager was shot several times by one police officer – later named as 28-year-old Darren Wilson – despite having held up his hands in a sign of surrender.

The first night of the curfew, beginning at midnight on Saturday, saw police use smoke canisters and later tear gas and making several arrests, with riot gear and armored vehicles employed to disperse protesters. Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said reports of a break-in and a man brandishing handgun had prompted the police action, rather than defiance of the curfew. One person was shot and wounded during the night, although the circumstances were unclear.

‘Right to protest’

Speaking to residents gathered for a church rally on Sunday, Johnson – who is tasked with restoring order in the town – said he was committed to protecting Ferguson residents’ right to protest.

Meanwhile, State Governor Jay Nixon – who declared the original curfew along with a state of emergency – on Sunday condemned a police decision to release video footage that allegedly showed Brown had taken part in a convenience store robbery.

“I think it had an incendiary effect,” Nixon told the CBS televsion program Face the Nation. Police “clearly are attempting to besmirch a victim of a shooting,” he added.

The US Justice Department on Sunday announced a third autopsy would be performed on Brown’s body, after an order from US Attorney General Eric Holder. Officials cited “extraordinary circumstances” surrounding the death, and a request by the teenager’s family as reasons for the independent investigation. A Justice Department civil rights investigation has also been widened.

rc/av (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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