Author Topic: Curfew in Ferguson will be in place for second night, volunteers provide lunch  (Read 136 times)

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Volunteers provide lunch to law-enforcement officers, community

Volunteers, including current and former Ferguson residents, are providing free lunch to law-enforcement officers and other members of the community near the police command center command at the Northland Shopping Center.

They're grilling hot dogs and offering free chips and bottles of water to show their support for the Ferguson community.

"We're offering free lunch to anyone who comes by and the police," said Mary Skees, 43, of Ferguson.

Tim Littrell, 46, is in charge of the grilling, and brought more than 300 hot dogs.

"We're trying to let everyone know that we're here for peace,"said Littrell, a former Ferguson resident who now lives in St. Peters.

"Everybody wants justice — in a peaceful way," he said.

About 15 volunteers showed up, but more are arriving.

— Denise Hollinshed, 12:15 p.m. Sunday

Law-enforcement officers aren't the only ones getting free food from supporters.

Keith Griffin II, publisher of DELUX Magazine, set up a table near gas pump 6 at the QuikTrip on West Florissant Avenue, where he is distributing free pizza, chips, fresh fruit and bottled water to protesters and area residents.

Griffin, 37, said he grew up in the area and he's concerned about the welfare of local residents.

He's also putting together care packages to people who are stuck because of the protests and curfew, he said.

— Denise Hollinshed, 1:25 p.m. Sunday

Thousands sign petition seeking special prosecutor

Organizers said today that more than 20,000 people have signed an online petition seeking a special prosecutor to investigate the death of Michael Brown.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch is in charge of the investigation. The petition asks him to step aside.

“Many community members don't believe he can be fair and impartial,” said state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed. She started the petition drive with the goal of gathering 50,000 signatures. “We will continue to put pressure on him to resign,” she said.

— Michael Sorkin, 1 p.m. Sunday

Curfew in Ferguson will be in place tonight

The Ferguson curfew will be extended for a second day, says Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman Al Nothum.

Seven people, including two Ferguson residents, were arrested early Sunday morning for failing to disperse after the midnight-5 a.m. curfew, Nothum said.

Highway Patrol officials are expected to provide additional details at a briefing later today.

— Denise Hollinshed, 11:40 a.m. Sunday

Attorney general orders third autopsy

Attorney General Eric Holder said today he has ordered the Justice Department to conduct its own independent autopsy of Michael Brown. — Michael Sorkin, 10:50 a.m. Sunday

Nixon calls for prosecutors to 'step up' investigation

In multiple appearances on national television Sunday morning, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon repeatedly emphasized the role of the federal investigation over the local one in the shooting death of Michael Brown. He appeared on four morning talk shows.

Nixon called St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, an "experienced prosecutor." Nixon said he had no timetable for the investigation.

Nixon also told ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" that his office was unaware that Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson was going to release on Friday a videotape showing what is alleged to be Brown, 18, in what police have called a "strong-armed" robbery of cigars in a convenience store shortly before he was killed.

"Rest assured we have had very serious discussions about that action" and its effect on Brown's family, Nixon told NBC's "Meet the Press." — Chuck Raasch, 10:30 a.m. Sunday

FERGUSON •  One person was critically injured in a shooting and seven people were arrested early today after a curfew went into effect here.

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson said in a briefing just before 3 a.m. that police began using smoke bombs early this morning after learning that men were on the roof of Red's BBQ. Police were going to walk West Florissant Avenue in teams, but that plan changed with the report of men on the roof.

Authorities then heard that there was a shooting victim near Red's, a police car was shot at, and a man stood in the street with a handgun.

Video: One shot, multiple arrests in Ferguson

Tear gas and smoke bombs were used to disperse a group of defiant protesters. By the time officers moved protesters from the scene, the shooting victim had been taken by private vehicle to a hospital, Johnson said. He did not know whether the victim was a protester.

Rain stopped before the first tear gas was fired 45 minutes after the curfew began midnight. A police spokesman said the grenades were smoke, not tear gas. Shortly after 2 a.m., they reversed themselves and said tear gas had been fired.

After 1 a.m., rain began pouring again as it appeared police had dispersed the protesters. Multiple gunshots could be heard.

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been at the demonstrations all week, said the police tactics "were a lot better" than they could have been.

French said he was among political and religious leaders who spoke to the defiant group, urging its members to honor the curfew, "But there was no convincing them." Some, he said, "didn't want to be told to leave."

The seven persons arrested will be charged with failure to disperse, Johnson said.

Earlier story

FERGUSON • Hard rain fell upon a small group of defiant protesters on an otherwise empty West Florissant Avenue as the midnight curfew went into effect after a week of demonstrations and occasional violence. Police officers, many in helmets and body armor, warned them to disperse. At 12:45 a.m., police put on their gas masks.

All through the evening, there was concern that some protesters would ignore the curfew, which was imposed by Gov. Jay Nixon after looters raided businesses in the early hours Saturday. Protesters marched up and down the main street earlier Saturday evening, but the crowd began thinning after 11 p.m. — and the police presence grew.

A pouring rain hit the area shortly before midnight. It had rained off and on throughout the evening, but the midnight storms almost seemed providential. Police lights flashed across the wet pavement. Officers, already soaked, stood in their places.

A holdout group of protesters stood on West Florissant Avenue near Canfield Drive, the entrance to the apartment complex where Michael Brown, 18, was shot to death by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. No immediate police action was evident.

Journalists were confined to a staging area in front of Ferguson Market and Liquor, facing arrest if they left, which made it difficult to know what was happening outside of view.



Earlier in the evening, hundreds of chanting, horn-honking protesters stayed on West Florissant despite periodic showers.

Among those concerned about a standoff was Patricia Bynes, Democratic committeewoman for Ferguson Township and a regular at the weeklong series of daily protests. “There are a lot of faces I’ve never seen before that are here just because of the curfew,” Bynes said.

But most people apparently agreed with Craig Carter, 38, of Normandy, who said he’d be leaving before midnight. “I don’t want to be part of all that,” Carter said of potential trouble. “I’m here for the right reasons.”

About 7 p.m. Saturday, protesters who had gathered at the gutted QuikTrip, 9240 West Florissant Ave., marched south down the street when about 50 St. Louis city officers stepped out of a Metro bus and silently formed a line in front of the businesses.

In one scene by the businesses Saturday evening, a man who traveled here from Nashville, Tenn., to take part loudly insulted officers. Three members of the New Black Panthers stepped between the man, Mark Lollis, 28, and the motionless officers.

One of the Panthers, who declined to identify himself, said, “We’re not protecting the police, we’re protecting the people.”

The arrival of city officers was the first large presence of St. Louis police since Nixon handed over control of Ferguson’s streets to the Highway Patrol on Thursday. Nixon did so after several nights of tension and tear gas fired by heavily armored SWAT officers of the St. Louis County Police Department.

That unusual action by Nixon had angered St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney McCulloch and stung many county officers. The county Police Officers Association criticized the governor’s decision, and their fellows in the city Police Association slammed their chief, Sam Dotson, for saying he hadn’t supported the county SWAT tactics.

Shortly before the curfew began, Jason Ross, a tall protester, removed his mask as he approached Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who assured him, “We’ll get some answers.”

Ross said, “Why don’t you incarcerate the man who did it?” Said Johnson, “I don’t have that authority.” Jason said back, “If that was me who committed murder, I’d be locked up,” then he walked away.

A St. Louis County Circuit Court grand jury is investigating the case.

The differences in behavior Saturday were stark: Before dawn, looters, their faces hidden, lugged stolen bottles of rum and vodka. After the sun returned, good-hearted citizens with brooms helped to clean the mess.

Trouble broke out early Saturday after a night of peaceful demonstrations that verged on festive along West Florissant. But images of the brazen looting, especially at Ferguson Market and Liquor, flashed again around the world.

On Saturday morning, so many people showed up to help shopkeepers clean and make repairs that some had to be turned away.

Kevin Polk of Ferguson said he went to bed Friday night relieved that West Florissant Avenue was quiet. He awoke Saturday to news of the looting. “l turned on news at 5:30 (a.m.) and couldn’t believe it. I grabbed a broom and came straight here,” Polk said.

Many of his fellow citizens denounced the frenzy that had marred two evenings of relative peace.

“You saw positivity up and down street,” said Matthew White, also of Ferguson. “Why turn it into a negative just when it seemed we were getting the message across?”

Many of the helpers blamed alcohol. It certainly was a big draw to the looters, who filled their arms with bottles from the shelves of Ferguson Market and Liquor. One made off with a cash register. The convenience store had become a target after a security video, released Friday by Ferguson police, showed Brown stealing cigars and shoving a store clerk there shortly before he was shot to death at midday by Wilson.

A woman with a small child dropped by the business and said area residents felt trapped by the demonstrations and occasional violence. “No place for us to go,” she said. “What are we supposed to do now?”

But looters hit other area stores as well. At nearby Northland Chop Suey, the owners studied footprints on a counter left by vaulting looters, who stole a small amount of cash. Counters were smashed and hair braids stolen from Feel Beauty Supply.

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been in Ferguson almost constantly and was arrested Wednesday during the tension that inspired Nixon to step in and assign the streets to the Missouri Highway Patrol, French, a prodigious user of Twitter, wrote that early Saturday’s looting “broke my heart,” but said he supported the Highway Patrol’s decision not to charge into the fray.

“Police not coming in at this point — even with the looting — was a good thing,” French said. “It would’ve gotten very violent.”

In an encouraging sign, some of the protesters who stayed overnight Friday stood in front of stores to ward off more stealing.

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