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Monday
Aug182014

Ferguson Curfew Lifted as National Guard Set to Arrive

iStock/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday that the curfew imposed on the violence-racked town of Ferguson would be lifted Monday night and the National Guard sent to Ferguson will be "limited" to protecting the town's command center.

Nixon signed an executive order Monday morning deploying the Missouri National Guard to Ferguson after a night of continued clashes between police and protesters in reaction to the police shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

"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," Nixon said in a statement.

"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," he continued.

The governor later issued a statement saying, "The Guard's immediate and limited responsibilities...are to provide protection, and ensure the safety of our Unified Command Center, which was the target last night of a coordinated attack."

Nixon said he signed the executive order after actions by violent protesters Sunday night included "the firing upon law enforcement officers, the shooting of a civilian, the throwing of Molotov cocktails, looting and a coordinated attempt to overrun the unified Command Center."

He said the Missouri State Highway Patrol and local police would remain in charge of policing the streets.

In addition, the governor said, "We will not use a curfew tonight."

The police used tear gas Sunday night to clear protesters off the streets of the St. Louis suburb, action that police say was necessary because of shooting, looting and vandalism.

“When we saw violent acts…We had to act to protect lives and property,” Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said at an early-morning news conference Monday.

The situation “took a very different turn after dark,” Johnson said, deteriorating at 8:25 p.m. with a civilian shooting. Protesters fired at police and threw Molotov cocktails, he said.

Sunday’s clashes continued more than a week’s worth of unrest in Ferguson after the Aug. 9 death of Brown, 18. Activists raised their hands, reflecting reports that Brown had his hands raised when the officer fired.

The clashes come as a preliminary private autopsy shows Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head.

One of the bullets entered the top of Brown’s skull, meaning his head was bent forward, ABC News has confirmed. Brown was also shot four times in the right arm, the autopsy found.

The autopsy was performed Sunday at the request of Brown’s family.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform a separate autopsy because of the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

The St. Louis County Medical Examiner's office has also conducted an autopsy which concluded that Brown died from gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

Schools in the Ferguson-Florissant School district will remain closed Monday because of lingering unrest in the area.


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ABC News Radio