FERGUSON, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in Ferguson, Mo., on Saturday, following nights of protests after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer.
"If we're going to have justice, we must first have and maintain peace," Nixon said at a Saturday afternoon press conference. "The eyes of the world are watching."
Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says the curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m. local time Sunday and will be enforced through conversations, not tear gas and tanks.
"We will survive this and will make a change," Johnson says.
Malik Shabazz, a member of Black Lawyers for Justice, said he has been working with a coalition of groups to help disperse crowds and keep the peace in Ferguson for the past several days.
Now, he is worried the curfew will make it harder for him to help authorities. He thinks the curfew asks people to go home too early. The past few nights, Shabazz said, people went home around 1:30 a.m.
He asked Johnson to extend the curfew during the news conference, where it was announced. Johnson however said it would stand.
"I don't want our people to get hurt," he said. "It's Saturday night. Twelve midnight is an early time. ... I can't be responsible for his timeline so it is what it is."
Margaret Huang, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA, disagrees with the curfew.
"It's clear that the community doesn't feel heard," Huang says. "It's hard to build trust when the governor won't meet with community members and restricts their movements with a curfew. The people of Ferguson should not have their rights further restricted."
Daniel Moore, 42, of Ferguson said he thought a curfew would only make things more tense among protesters and the police. Moore said he fears police will use the curfew as an excuse to harass people on foot and in cars.
"It's stupid," Moore said as he stood among fellow protesters at QuikTrip. "They just want to control everything. ... I guess they (want) us to obey — I can't tell if I will."
Derrick Brown, 25, said he was optimistic that people would abide by the curfew but wasn't sure whether he supported it.
"It'll be interesting to see the crowd move at midnight," Brown said. "I'm curious to see how that process will unfold."
FBI agents have joined local authorities in some witness interviews related to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer, after those witnesses expressed doubts about the integrity of the local inquiry, a federal law enforcement official said Saturday.
The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the joint interviews have involved few witnesses so far. But the concerns echo themes from waves of protesters during the past week who have cited a broken trust with local police.
Local authorities are heading the investigation into last week's deadly shooting, while the FBI is conducting a parallel inquiry into possible federal civil rights violations.
In a statement issued Friday evening, William Woods, the FBI's special agent in charge, U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan and Molly Moran, acting chief of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division confirmed that federal authorities had already conducted "several'' witness interviews.
"Over the next several days, teams of FBI agents will be canvassing the neighborhood where the shooting took place to identify any individuals who may have information related to the shooting and have not yet come forward,'' the officials said.
The developments came after armored vehicles, riot gear, tear gas and looting returned to Ferguson early Saturday as a brief period of peaceful demonstrations gave way to a violent atmosphere of anarchy.
The convenience store Michael Brown is accused of stealing from was just one of the Ferguson businesses looted as protests once again turned violent overnight.
The intense night shattered a short-lived calm that had been hailed as a turning point after a week of protests following the fatal shooting of Brown, a black unarmed teenager killed by Darren Wilson one week ago.
Renita Lamkin, 43, is the pastor of St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Charles, Mo. Each day since the protests began Lamkin has been at the front of the protest line urging people to remain calm. The curfew is necessary, she said, to keep the focus on Brown's death rather than looting.
Angela Whitman, 44, of Berkeley, St. Louis, helped organize a moment of silence for Brown on Saturday afternoon. The group stood in silence for 30 minutes with their hands up across the street from the Ferguson Police Station.
She said that tensions would remain high until Brown's killer was arrested.
"You can't keep putting off the officer not being locked up anymore," Whitman said.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson and Natalie DiBlasio reporting McLean, Va.