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To Combat Looting In Ferguson, Mo. Governor Institutes Curfew


It has been one week since a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, to death. Since then, there have been nightly protests - some turned violent. Last night, violence erupted again after the police released the name of the officer along with a video that indicated Brown might have been a robbery suspect. Today, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson, and he imposed a citywide curfew.


GOVERNOR JAY NIXON: We're going to achieve justice. We must first have and maintain peace. This is a test. The eyes of the world are watching.

VIGELAND: NPR's Cheryl Corley joins us now from Ferguson. And, Cheryl, can you tell us a little bit more about this curfew that the governor has imposed on the city of Ferguson and at the tenor of the news conference at which it was announced.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: This was a very testy news conference. It was testy because it not - it included not only the media, but lots of very angry community folks and activists who were taking part in the event. But what the governor announced was that this curfew will run from midnight until 5 a.m. And, at this point, it's an open-ended curfew. And as you mentioned, the governor said it is a test, as we heard him in his cut. He said it is a test of whether this community can break the cycle of violence. And they needed to have some peace and no looting, and they're hoping that that is what happens with this curfew that runs from midnight until 5 a.m.

VIGELAND: And remind us about some of the developments that happened today, including what was happening this morning.

CORLEY: Well, a lot of cleanup was going on on one of the main strips of Ferguson because of the looting that had occurred. The businesses were boarding up windows that had been broken and, you know, seeing what happened to the supplies they had. There were also a lot of community folks who came out to help them. People were bringing in coffee and food, and it was a big community effort, not something that was just being done by the businesses themselves. Earlier, there was also a huge march with people chanting, hands up, don't shoot - that's become the mantra of sorts here after the shooting of Michael Brown. And a lot of people have questioned why the Ferguson police released a tape of robbery which indicated that Brown was a suspect the same day they revealed that it was a six-year veteran of the police force, Darren Wilson, who was involved in the shooting. And they believe that that helped precipitate some of the activity that took place last night.

VIGELAND: Cheryl, as I noted, we are now one week into this. Can you describe for us what the general mood is there, not just in Ferguson, but in Missouri?

CORLEY: Well, I would say that it's - it's very tense and continues to be, even though you see some effort to change that. When you had the changing of the guard with security, that - it seemed to tamp down some of the anger and frustration that people had here - but you know, we'll see what happens. There are two investigations that are ongoing, and people want to see just some sort of resolution with that. And we have FBI agents here today who are helping to continue that investigation.

VIGELAND: That's NPR's Cheryl Corley on the line from Ferguson. Cheryl, thank you.

CORLEY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Cheryl Corley is a Chicago-based NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk. She primarily covers criminal justice issues as well as breaking news in the Midwest and across the country.
Tess Vigeland
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