Billionaire donors Laura and John Arnold support far more in Maryland than police surveillance

Imposed curfew in effect in Ferguson, Mo.

Curfew to be in effect in Ferguson in wake of protests, looting

Rain did not deter hundreds of protesters, angry at the shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown a week ago, in Ferguson, Missouri from demonstrating in the streets Saturday night and early Sunday morning. 

The state's governor, Jay Nixon, declared a state of emergency Saturday afternoon and set an unpopular curfew which was disobeyed by a small crowd. Around 1 a.m. Sunday morning eye-witnesses gave conflicting reports, some saying police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the remaining protesters, others claiming the shots heard were merely smoke cannisters.

The mood among hundreds of protesters on a main road in Ferguson that has been the scene of recent demonstrations was tense and defiant on Saturday night just prior to the midnight curfew and dozens of helmet-clad officers holding full-length shields took position near demonstrators in the rain.

"The curfew is going to make things worse," said protestor Phonso Scott, 24. "I think the cops are going to get violent tonight, but they can't lock us all up."

The curfew will be in effect from midnight to 5 a.m., said Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol. He said the curfew would be enforced through communication, not physical force. "We will be telling people, 'It's time to go home,'" he said.

"We won’t enforce it with trucks, we won’t enforce it with tear gas, we’ll communicate," Johnson said during the afternoon press conference.

By Saturday night Johnson stood in the rain listening to a local resident asking why the officer who shot Brown had not been arrested or charged. "We'll get some answers. I promise you," he said.

"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," Gov. Nixon said in remarks made at a church near the embattled community Saturday afternoon.

After another night of racially charged protests and looting in Ferguson, the governor had said he was going to meet with local and state law enforcement on Saturday to craft a plan aimed at quelling further violence.

That plan, apparently, resulted in the establishment of the curfew.

"It was a rough time last night. There was a lot of looting and there were a lot of people arming themselves in their storefront to guard their businesses," said Al Nothum, a spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol earlier in the day.

Noting that most protesters on Friday night had been peaceful, Nixon said he "cannot allow the ill-will of the few to undermine the goodwill of the many, while putting the people and businesses of this community in danger.''

"This is not to silence the people of Ferguson,'' Nixon said, "but to address those who are drowning out the voice of the people with their actions. We will not allow a handful of looters to endanger the rest of this community.''

But after his opening remarks, Nixon quickly lost control of the crowd, with the images being recorded for a national television audience.

"You need to charge that police with murder!'' one person yelled. Others demanded to know how the curfew would be enforced. "Going to do tear gas again?" someone asked.

Nixon began answering that "the best way for us to get peace" was for everyone to go home and get a good night sleep, when another resident interrupted him, shouting "we don't need sleep. We need justice!"

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough, who has faced skepticism from some elected officials and community members over his ability to handle the case, on Saturday told a local public radio station he plans to convene a grand jury within days to begin looking into evidence in the shooting of Brown.

The governor put Captain Johnson in charge of security on Thursday after several nights of violent clashes between protesters and local police forces in the aftermath of the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Tensions temporarily cooled on Thursday night but on Friday evening protesters again swarmed through a residential and retail district in the small town outside St. Louis that has become a near war zone, pitting mostly black protesters against mostly white police forces.

Johnson said police fired a teargas canister at a crowd near a food and liquor store and broader violence and looting erupted. Some protesters threw bottles at riot gear-clad police who had ordered the crowd to disperse.

Peaceful protesters, some chanting "hands up, don't shoot," attempted to stop looters at several shops, including a store Brown was accused by police of robbing of cigars earlier in the day before his death.

“This is wonderful. This is what should have happened a long time ago,” Robert Powell, 42, said as he watched looters during the night hop through the shattered glass door of a meat market.

Powell, who owns a professional cleaning service, grew up on the city's west side, and to him, this was small-time crime.

After years of living in a town where he said African American men are singled out for harsh treatment by the police, he shared the looters’ frustration.

Powell blamed the unrest on the Ferguson police chief's release of information Friday about Brown.

Further down the road, Etefia Umana and his son were walking past the scene of the earlier mayhem, with Umana pointing out businesses where citizens had prevented looters from entering.

"We had some friends who were blocking stores,” he said, though he admitted that at some businesses, “eventually they were overwhelmed.”

Information release confuses

Tensions have been high since police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, 18, shortly after noon last Saturday as Brown and a friend walked down a street that runs through an apartment complex where Brown's grandmother lives.

Emotions ramped up again Friday when authorities finally gave in to days of pressure and released the name of the officer who shot Brown, but did so only after first saying that Brown was a suspect in a store robbery at the time he was shot, a move that supporters of Brown's family called a "smear" campaign.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson acknowledged in a news conference on Friday that Wilson did not know Brown was a suspect in the robbery and that the shooting resulted from the officer's request for Brown to move out of the street. 

"This robbery does not relate to the initial contact between the officer and Michael Brown," Jackson said. Asked why Brown and his friend were stopped if not suspects in the robbery, the chief said, "because they were walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic."

Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Brown's family, said in a statement issued Friday that the family was "beyond outraged" at the police attempts to "assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight."

The Brown family attorney said on Saturday that Dr. Michael Baden, a high-profile forensic pathologist, will conduct a second autopsy on Brown's body, according to CNN.

Civil rights activist the Reverend Al Sharpton said he would lead a rally with Brown's family in Ferguson on Sunday.

"There's nothing more contemptible and offensive to the people of this country than for law enforcement to try to smear a dead man or dead child that can't speak for themselves," Sharpton said on Saturday morning at a weekly rally he holds in New York City that is broadcast on the Internet.

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.

The New York Times reported on its website on Saturday that the U.S. Justice Department opposed the Ferguson police decision to release the video, with an unnamed U.S. law enforcement official telling the paper federal officials feared the surveillance footage "would roil the community further."

Neither the governor's office nor the state highway patrol were involved in the decision either, said Scott Holste, a spokesman for Governor Nixon.

Police, witness accounts differ strongly

The police version of Brown's shooting differs markedly from witness accounts, including that of the friend who was walking with Brown at the time, Dorian Johnson, 22.

In the police version, after Wilson asked Brown to move out of the road onto a sidewalk, Brown reached into the patrol car and struggled with Wilson for the officer's service gun. Wilson, who sustained a facial injury, then shot Brown a number of times.

Johnson and at least one other witness have said that the officer reached out through his car window to grab at Brown and that the teenager was trying to get away from the officer when he was shot. Brown held up his hands in a sign of surrender but the officer got out of his patrol car and shot Brown several times, they said.

Police have acknowledged that Brown's body was more than 30 feet away from the police car when he collapsed and died and that multiple shell casings were found at the scene.

Social media sites have helped fuel national outrage over the shooting, which is being investigated both by the U.S. Department of Justice for any civil rights violations and by the St. Louis County police force.

FBI agents were at the scene of the shooting on Saturday interviewing area residents, and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson also visited the site, leading a prayer near a make-shift memorial to Brown just a few feet from where he died. 

Curfews have happened before

In recent years, authorities in Boston, New Orleans and other cities have enacted curfews as they contended with upheaval caused by hurricanes, racial tension and terrorism.

Last year, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick asked residents of Boston, Cambridge and Watertown to shutter themselves inside as police scoured the area for Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the brothers who carried out the Boston marathon bombings.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with Watertown police in April 2013. Police asked residents of all three cities to remain indoors as they searched for his brother. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was later located nearby hiding in a boat.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans was placed under a dusk-til-dawn curfew in an attempt to prevent looting and violence after the city flooded and lost power.

When Hurricane Sandy hurtled up the East Coast in 2012, several New Jersey towns also ordered curfews.

In 2001, then-Mayor Charlie Luken announced an 8 p.m. curfew in Cincinnati after rioting broke out in response to a white police officer killing an unarmed black teenager.

Many American cities, including Los Angeles, also maintain curfew laws for juveniles. But it is rare to see them strongly enforced.

Last month, the Baltimore City Council passed one of the country's strictest curfew laws, requiring children under the age of 14 to be home by 9 p.m. Children up to 16 are required to be home by 10 p.m. on school nights and 11 p.m. on weekends.

See a live feed of Ferguson streets during curfew hours here.

Reuters, Tribune newspapers and Chicago Tribune staff contributed

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