Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) declared a state of emergency today, and set a curfew in Ferguson, where last week the police shot dead black teenager Michael Brown.
The murder of Brown sparked a week-long series of mass protests; and it looks as if a situation that was going to gradually improve is now rapidly decaying again.
Governor Jay Nixon said during his speech that “the eyes of the world are watching” and that it was a “test” of the community can “break the cycle of fear, distrust, and violence,” so they could replace it with “peace, strength, and ultimately, justice.”
Nixon added that while many protesters were making themselves heard peacefully, the state wasn’t going to allow a handful of looters to endanger the community.
The curfew will be imposed from midnight to 5:00 a.m. local time, according to Captain Ronald Johnson. Recall that Johnson, who is with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, marched with the protesters the first day that he was brought in. The inflamed tensions were also fanned after police released the name of the officer who fatally shot Brown, right beside documents that Brown robbed a store before he was murdered.
Yahoo reports that the officer, Darren Wilson, has not been seen or heard from since his name was revealed:
The officer who killed Brown was identified as 28-year-old Darren Wilson, a six-year police veteran who had no previous complaints filed against him.
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.
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley asked Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on Friday to take over the case, saying he did not believe McCulloch could be objective. Koster said Missouri law does not allow it unless McCulloch opts out, and McCulloch spokesman Ed Magee said the prosecutor has no plans to surrender the case.
Johnson added that three officers were injured in clashes on Friday, as some were trapped by the rioters in a parking lot. Despite that, the captain confirmed that he hadn’t ordered a use of force. Amid shouts of “Sleep is not an option!” and “We want justice!” Johnson said that, “What we’re doing now is not who we are.”
The governor assured people that the FBI is investigating; 40 FBI agents are on the ground going door-to-door to see if anyone has any knowledge of the murder.
On Friday, following peaceful demonstrations lead by Captain Ronald Johnson, a group of people stayed in the streets after midnight, provoking police and reportedly throwing bottles and other objects. Some individuals also stormed local stores, because no cause is so noble that it won’t attract a few assholes who have to try their hardest to screw everything up.