Hours before the second night of a midnight to five-am curfew, the grim details of Michael Brown’s autopsy became public. What began as a peaceful protest against the killing of an unarmed teenager by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson quickly morphed into a night of unrest. According to local authorities as residents exercised their constitutional rights of protest, fringe elements shot at riot-gear clad police and looted nearby stores. This escalation prompted Gov. Nixon to order the streets immediately cleared before the scheduled curfew was to go into effect.
"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 ... in restoring peace and order to this community," he said in a statement.
Earlier Sunday afternoon, thousands attended the “Unity Rally for Justice for Michael Brown” held at the Greater Grace Church in Ferguson. This convocation of mostly African Americans was hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network. St. Louis County residents and people from around the country met to call for justice and non-violent protest. Brown’s parents joined Sharpton, Martin Luther King III and other local leaders and civil rights activists at the rally not far from where Brown was killed.
To a sanctuary filled to capacity and thousands outside, Rev. Sharpton embraced Brown’s mother and father on stage before he spoke: “These parents, they’re not going to cry alone … we have had enough,” he said. “Brown’s shooting will be a “defining moment on how this country deals with policing,” Sharpton said. “Michael Brown’s going to change this town.”
Tonight the world will watch to see if continued suspension of First Amendment rights will foster peace in a community already feeling disenfranchised.