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.
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.