Update, 2:55 a.m.: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is deploying the National Guard to Ferguson after a day of protests turned into yet another night of clashes with the police. Early Monday morning, Nixon’s office announced the governor had signed an executive order “directing additional resources through the Missouri National Guard to help restore peace and order and to protect the citizens of Ferguson.”
The governor’s statement:
Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk. I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning this criminal activity that included firing upon law enforcement officers, shooting a civilian, throwing Molotov cocktails, looting, and a coordinated attempt to block roads and overrun the Unified Command Center. These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory, and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served, and to feel safe in their own homes. Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson, I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard to assist Colonel Ron Replogle and the Unified Command in restoring peace and order to this community.
Update, 2:40 a.m.: A little more than an hour into the curfew in Ferguson, Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is in charge of security in the St. Louis suburb, said police had no choice but to “elevate the level of our response” because of “premeditated criminal acts designed to … provoke a response.” Molotov cocktails were thrown, people shot at officers and looted several stores, Johnson said. “We had to act to protect lives and property,” he added. No officers were injured.
“A Sunday that started with prayers and messages of unity and justice took a different turn after dark,” Johnson said. The deterioration of what had been a peaceful protest began at around 8:26 p.m. with the shooting of a civilian. That was followed by a quick succession of shootings, injuring “two or three” people. “Seven or eight” people were arrested.
By the time Johnson spoke to reporters, the situation seemed much more calm in Ferguson, and the streets appeared to be mostly empty as journalists on the ground say police were arresting people out past the curfew that is in place until 5 a.m.
two men just walked past us walked into cops and were arrested for curfew violation. "just bc I'm black" #ferguson-- Amy K. Nelson (@AmyKNelson) August 18, 2014
Original post, 11:41 p.m.: Things turned violent very quickly in Ferguson tonight, with clashes between protesters and police escalating to a new high, mere hours before the curfew was set to take effect at midnight. The turn seems to have caught everyone off guard with a peaceful march suddenly becoming violent when a group of protesters approached a police staging area. Police proceeded to fire tear gas at the crowd that included children, and a CNN reporter says he personally saw police fire rubber bullets at an approaching protester.
The police say some protesters were violent and even threw Molotov cocktails.* Many on the ground are questioning the claims, but a CNN producer also said he witnessed shots fired at the police.
At least two reporters were briefly arrested, the Telegraph’s Rob Crilly and Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko.
Johnson has now ordered my handcuffs off along with two others. I gather we are now free-- Rob Crilly (@robcrilly) August 18, 2014
Captain Johnson arrested us for 2 minutes. We pleaded that we had followed every instruction. He let us go.-- Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 18, 2014
There were also multiple reports of shots fired but things remain unclear and at least some of the reported gunfire was actually fireworks.
Police telling us to step back. "YOU ARE NOT SAFE! STAND CLEAR!" Cops say more shots fired. #Ferguson-- Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) August 18, 2014
Report of shots fired has been cleared as fireworks, police say. #Ferguson-- Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 18, 2014
*Correction, Aug. 17, 2014: The post originally included a tweet relating to Molotov cocktails that was from Aug. 14. It has been removed.