1. Updated — 6:07 p.m. ET
2. The Ferguson, Mo., police department called for an end to the nightly demonstrations that have taken place since an officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager.
A protester raises his hands in front of of a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday night.
Ferguson police suggested in a statement that the decision to ban the protests after dark was due to violence by the demonstrators:
“We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized respectful manner. We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble to disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of our community. Unfortunately, those who wish to co-opt peaceful protests and turn them into violent demonstrations have been able to do so over the past several days during the evening hours. These events are not indicative of the City of Ferguson and its residents.”
The statement put out Wednesday from the Ferguson Police Department was the first official release by the department since 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed Saturday — more than 90 hours ago.
Later on Wednesday, during a news conference, Police Chief Thomas Jackson said police were not imposing a curfew.
“There are some people that come out and after dark it does get a little dangerous,” Jackson said. “We think it is better for peaceful demonstrations to occur during the daylight.”
Jackson also defended his department’s response to the nightly protests. Some demonstrators were hit with tear gas and rubber bullets were fired on Monday night.
During the news conference, Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal asked the chief, “Do you know if I’m going to gassed again, like I was Monday night?”
“I hope not,” Jackson replied.
Jackson reiterated Wednesday that he would not release the name of the officer who allegedly shot Brown, citing safety concerns. The decision not to release the name was slammed by attorney Ben Crump, lawyer for the Brown family.
Jackson said the officer and Brown had a violent confrontation prior to the shooting and the officer was hit in the face. Family and friends of Brown have disputed the police account.
Jackson said the department is trying to soothe tensions in Ferguson. “Apparently, there’s been this undertow that now has bubbled to the surface, and it’s our first priority to address it, to fix what’s wrong,” he said.
The FBI is conducting an inquiry into the shooting and St. Louis County Police is investigating the case.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch said Wednesday the case is in the “information-gathering stage” and asked people with evidence to come forward.