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Police deploy tear gas to impose Ferguson curfew


FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - The first night of a state-imposed curfew in Ferguson, Missouri, ended with tear gas and seven arrests, after police dressed in riot gear used armored vehicles to disperse defiant protesters who refused to leave a St. Louis suburb where a black, unarmed teen had been shot by a white police officer a week earlier.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said protesters weren't the reason for the escalated police reaction early Sunday morning after the midnight curfew took effect, but a report of people who had broken into a barbecue restaurant and a man who flashed a handgun in the street as armored vehicles approached the crowd of protesters.

Also overnight, a man was shot and critically wounded in the same area, but not by police; authorities were searching for the shooter. Someone also shot at a police car, officials said.

The protests have been going on since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed Aug. 9 by a white Ferguson officer, Darren Wilson. The death heightened racial tensions between the predominantly black community and mostly white Ferguson Police Department, leading to several run-ins between police and protesters and prompting Missouri's governor to put the Highway Patrol in charge of security.

The Ferguson Police Department waited six days to publicly reveal the name of the officer and documents alleging Brown robbed a convenience store before he was killed, though Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Wilson did not know Brown was a suspect when he encountered him walking in the street with a friend.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asked federal authorities on Sunday to have a federal medical examiner do an autopsy on Brown's body as soon as possible because of "extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family," spokesman Brian Fallon said.

The U.S. Department of Justice also has deepened its civil rights investigation of the shooting, as Johnson said Saturday that 40 FBI agents were going door-to-door in the neighborhood gathering information.

Gov. Jay Nixon, who declared a state of emergency in Ferguson on Saturday after protests turned violent the night before, said Sunday morning on ABC's "This Week" that he was not aware the police were going to release the surveillance video.

"It's appeared to cast aspersions on a young man that was gunned down in the street. It made emotions raw," he said.

In announcing the curfew, Nixon said that though many protesters were making themselves heard peacefully, the state would not allow looters to endanger the community.

"We must first have and maintain peace. This is a test. The eyes of the world are watching," Nixon said during a news conference that was interrupted repeatedly by people objecting to the curfew and demanding Wilson be charged with murder.

Johnson said earlier Saturday that police would not enforce the curfew with armored trucks and tear gas but would communicate with protesters and give them ample opportunity to leave. Local officers faced strong criticism earlier in the week for their use of tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters.

But as the curfew deadline arrived early Sunday, remaining protesters refused to leave the area as officers spoke through a loudspeaker: "You are in violation of a state-imposed curfew. You must disperse immediately."

As officers put on gas masks, a chant from the distant crowd emerged: "We have the right to assemble peacefully."

A moment later, police began firing canisters into the crowd. Highway Patrol Spokesman Lt. John Hotz initially said police only used smoke, but later told The Associated Press they also used tear gas canisters.

"Obviously, we're trying to give them every opportunity to comply with the curfew," Hotz said.

On Saturday, some residents said it appeared the violent acts were being committed by people from other suburbs or states.

"Who would burn down their own backyard?" asked Rebecca McCloud, a local who works with the Sonshine Baptist Church in St. Louis. "These people aren't from here. They came to burn down our city and leave."

Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, is a six-year police veteran who had no previous complaints against him, Jackson has said. 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.

Ferguson Protests: Police Fire Tear Gas, Arrest 7

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dbn3 August 17 2014 at 6:39 AM

There has been way too much political correctness and coddling of ego's by the governor. First you bring order to the situation, then you investigate and bring justice.

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17 replies
Sylvie August 17 2014 at 6:44 AM

Permanent dye markers need to be added to the tear gas that would enable law enforcement to identify, arrest, and conicr violators. Better still, cut off their food stamps and welfare checks as punishment for their lawlessness.

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43 replies
David Fajgenbaum August 17 2014 at 6:46 AM

Our law enforcement officers are hired to enforce the law--they have been instructed to stand and not take action as criminals loot businesses and assault and threaten them--this is insanity. Why are the tax paying law abiding citizens not been protected-their businesses and lively hoods destroyed.
These thugs have destroyed/intimidated the business that Mike Brown is seen on tape robbing assaulting the owner("my son is a yes sir ,yes madam type of boy who would not play football as he is gentle and would hit no one")--has this young man had any juvenile charges?--we will never know
A curfew has been enacted and needs to be enforced. Announcing that they have guns and will respond is a threat to our officers and should be met with the appropriate charges-
The curfew needs to be extended to sun set to sunrise and the full extent of the law needs to be enforced--

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30 replies
marcelle1973 August 17 2014 at 9:21 AM

Just saw on ABC's Sunday morning, the DOJ is upset at the video where Brown was robbing the store. They didn't want to make you to see that Brown was no saint.

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1 reply
daradams marcelle1973 August 17 2014 at 9:25 AM

He had a rap sheet dating back to 2011.. why isn't the truth honored by this sick administration in DC..

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1 reply
jdh0516 daradams August 17 2014 at 9:35 AM

Because they are as racist as the rest of this nation.

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micknc2 August 17 2014 at 10:51 AM

Al Sharpton is supposed to make "another" appearance today at a rally in Ferguson. His fiery rhetoric about black injustice in two other Ferguson rally appearances largely fueled the riots that followed. In the midst of all the current madness, it will be interesting to see if Sharpton calls for calm, or continues to stir the fires of chaos. If he does the latter, he should be arrested for inciting to riot.

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jluke2044 August 17 2014 at 6:52 AM

I see that the AP has been trying to find the location of the police officer involved. You can bet that they would publish it and then be waiting at his house for the protesters to arrive there. They are intentially inflamiing this situation.

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revivalman August 17 2014 at 10:26 AM

The curfew imposed by Gov. Jay Nixon, of Missouri, seems to have the same worthless value as the red lines drawn by Barack Obama. Both are a useless joke. Must be some kind of Democrat brainfart thingy......

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teabagburris August 17 2014 at 10:31 AM

This whole situation brings feelings I keep to my self until today.I'm tired of driving to work each day, being taxed while I drive by a group of brothas drinking and smoking bud at 7 in the morning, living in goverment housing driving cars more expensive and newer then mine.I'm tired of going shopping budgeting my money, then seeing a tribe of coloreds dressed in designer clothes whipping out a food stamp card for a bunch of chicken and junk food.I'm tired of instilling respect and morals into my children, then shipping them off to school to co habitate with kids that show no respect, sagging pants, foul mouthed and disrupt class just to buck the system. The list goes on and on but I think my rant is over you get the point.

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7 replies
petehanse August 17 2014 at 10:32 AM

The worst business to have in Ferguson is a Sneaker Store! That is like signing your own death warrant.

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1 reply
pdbliz petehanse August 17 2014 at 10:32 AM


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retour August 17 2014 at 11:49 AM

if someone were to mention that this was going to delay/reduce welfare checks....I'm pretty sure we all know what would happen

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