Missouri Gov. Declares State of Emergency, Orders Midnight Curfew in Ferguson
On Saturday afternoon, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) declared a state of the emergency and implemented a curfew after Ferguson residents looted and rioted on Friday evening.
Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said authorities would enforce a curfew from midnight to 5 AM for the safety of the "citizens of Ferguson."
"To protect the people and the property of Ferguson, today I signed an order declaring a state of emergency and ordering an implementation of a curfew ... in the impacted area of Ferguson," Nixon said at a press conference. He said it would be a day-to-day situation.
On Friday evening, demonstrators looted the convenience store that Michael Brown allegedly robbed before a Ferguson police officer shot and killed him last weekend. The police officer, Darren Wilson, reportedly did not know that Brown was the prime suspect in the strong-arm robbery when he stopped him.
Other residents and officials had to block beauty shops and convenience stores to prevent more looting as the night went on. Looters threatened citizens and even journalists with violence and threw bottles at police and those who tried to take photos or live-tweet. Residents have clashed with police all week, and Nixon said it was "unacceptable" that looters went out on the streets "with the intent of committing crimes and endangering citizens."
Nixon said the "ill will of the few" cannot "undermine the good will of the many people" and endanger Ferguson residents and businesses. He criticized the looters for drowning out the voices of the peaceful demonstrators and said he would "not allow a handful of looters to endanger the rest of this community."
Nixon said that in order get justice, "we must first have and maintain peace."
"This is a test. The eyes of the world are watching. This is a 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," Nixon said at a contentious press conference that was interrupted on multiple instances by Ferguson residents who were shouting questions and complaints. "It will not happen in one night."