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Emergency order in Ferguson extended one more day to keep tensions down

Emergency order in Ferguson extended one more day to keep tensions down
"Momma Cat" Daniels puts out snacks as about 70 protesters gather along West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo., Tuesday night. (Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

St. Louis County officials extended a state of emergency Wednesday as police hoped that tensions would continue to calm down in Ferguson, Mo., following a sudden spate of violence.

“I am pleased to report our law enforcement officers have established order while preventing further acts of violence in Ferguson” and adjoining suburbs, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said in a statement.
Stenger’s executive order on Monday handed over policing duties in Ferguson to St. Louis County police.  “It is because of their ability to maintain order that I find it prudent to continue the state of emergency for at least the next 24 hours,” Stenger said.
Ferguson remained relatively calm overnight Tuesday after violence marred the anniversary of Michael Brown's death Sunday and protestors returned to face off with police.

About 70 people took to the streets Tuesday night -- fewer than the several hundred on Sunday and Monday.

At one point, about 20 protesters blocked West Florissant Avenue and forced a city bus to turn around. About 50 officers in helmets chased them from the street.

St. Louis County police said in a statement that some protestors threw rocks at officers but soon stopped, and no other violence was reported.

The demonstrations began days ago to commemorate the first anniversary of Brown's death. Brown, 18, was fatally shot on Aug. 9, 2014, by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson during a struggle. Wilson is white; Brown was black and unarmed. His death touched off weeks of rioting, fires and looting. The unrest recurred in November after a grand jury declined to indict Wilson in the shooting. 

The U.S. Department of Justice also declined to indict Wilson -- who is no longer on the force -- but condemned the Ferguson Police Department in a report. City officials remain locked in negotiations with DOJ officials in an effort to reach a consent decree to reform the Police Department.

The anniversary demonstrations had been peaceful until Sunday night, when 40 to 50 gunshots rang out during a confrontation between two groups, police said. Protesters ducked for cover and a young man opened fire at an unmarked police car, police said.

Officers returned fire and critically wounded Tyrone Harris Jr., 18, who remains hospitalized. Charged with 10 felonies, Harris is being held in lieu of $250,000 cash-only bond.

On Tuesday, St. Louis County Police released surveillance video from a Ferguson insurance office that, police said, showed Harris pulling out a gun. 

A spokeswoman for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where Harris was reportedly taken, told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday that she could not provide information on Harris’ condition and referred a reporter to St. Louis County police.
A spokesman for St. Louis County police said Harris' condition remains unchanged.

Duara reported from Ferguson, Pearce from Los Angeles.

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