Protests continue in Ferguson following curfew crack down

Posted at 10:45 PM, Aug 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-18 02:45:47-04

Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) -- [Breaking news update at 10:35 p.m.]

(CNN) -- Officers fired tear gas into a crowd of hundreds of protesters marching toward a police command post in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday night. Authorities also struck one defiant protester with rubber bullets.

[Previously published story, published at 10:24 p.m.]

Hundreds rally to demand justice for Michael Brown

(CNN) -- After more than a week of sometimes violent confrontations between protesters and police, Sunday afternoon brought an emotional release from the tension in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown.

But as night fell, protesters were met with smoke canisters as they marched down a closed street toward a police command post.

Hundreds of people packed a church in Ferguson on Sunday during an often intense, two-hour rally demanding justice for Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot dead eight days ago by a white police officer.

A cousin of Brown told the church audience that Brown was killed without reason.

"What I want y'all to remember is that Michael Brown was not just some young black boy. He was a human being ... ," Ty Pruitt said. "He was not a suspect. He was not an object. He was not an animal. But that's how he was killed."

Michael Brown's parents -- Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. -- appeared on stage at the rally at Greater Grace Church with attorney Benjamin Crump but didn't address the audience.

"What we're really asking for is simple justice," Crump said. "We're not asking for anything extraordinary. They just want what anybody else would want if their children were shot down in broad daylight."

Crump said there would be an independent investigation in addition to the federal and local probes already under way.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson spoke to the 1,300 people in the congregation and said he had a heavy heart.

"The past 24 hours have been tough for me," said Johnson, who took over security in the town on Thursday after what many saw as an overly aggressive police response by the local authorities. Johnson said he met with members of the Brown family and was moved to tears.

He also had to deal with a night where protests turned violent after a curfew began. One male was shot overnight Saturday, authorities said. It was unclear how old he was or who shot him. The victim was in critical condition on Sunday.

Officials said state highway patrol officers didn't fire any shots. They did fire tear gas to get to the wounded victim, Johnson said early Sunday.

Seven people were arrested after the curfew was violated.

"I can tell you that I was disappointed in the actions of (Saturday) tonight," said Johnson.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said the protesters were not anti-police.

"We don't think all police are bad. We're not anti-sitting down and solving the problem," he said at Sunday's rally. "We are not going to shut up. We are going to come together and have a real peace in this country."

The curfew will be in effect again as of midnight Sunday, said Sgt. Al Nothum with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. It ends at 5 a.m. CT.

Renewed protest, another person shot

On Sunday night there were noticeably fewer police officers on a one-mile stretch of road where protesters have been gathering each night. There were a few cars on the road, which had been closed to through traffic.

Hundreds of people, some holding signs, paraded up and down the avenue.

The peaceful nature of the protest changed around 9 p.m. CT when marchers began retreating as police trucks slowly moved down the street and smoke filled the road.

Police said one person had been shot Sunday night and suffered minor wounds.