Ferguson, Mo., police, who have battled three nights of protests over the police shooting of an unarmed teen, called on demonstrators Wednesday to hold future protests and vigils only during daylight hours.
A statement issued by the Ferguson police department expressed sympathy over the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Saturday, saying "police are working to restore confidence in the safety of our community and our neighborhoods so that we may begin the healing process."
The statement said the city and police department "have heard the community's cries for justice" and pledged to cooperate fully with local and federal investigations into the fatal shooting.
"We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner," the statement said. "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."
It said that some individuals had co-opted peaceful protests during the past three nights and turned them into violent demonstrations.
Brown was shot and killed on Saturday. Dorian Johnson, who was standing beside the victim at the time, told KSDK-TV that Brown was shot in the head and chest while holding his hands up and facing the police officer who had stopped them on the street.
On Sunday, a protest deteriorated into chaos, with angry mobs smashing windows and looting businesses. Police have used tear gas on at least two nights to control crowds in this town of 21,000 people.
The official statement is being reposted in its entirety:
The City of Ferguson mourns the loss of Michael Brown's life that occurred this past Saturday. We understand members of our community, and those nationwide, are grieving with us. We have worked diligently to provide an opportunity for our residents to both grieve and voice frustrations through prayer vigils and peaceful protests.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the St. Louis County Police Department, the St. Louis City Police Department, the Missouri Highway Patrol, and numerous local law enforcement agencies for their assistance over the past several days. These officers have worked throughout the night to quell violent outbursts and restore calm to our City.
We are working to restore confidence in the safety of our community and our neighborhoods so that we may begin the healing process. We have heard the community's cries for justice and assure the public that the Ferguson Police Department will continue to cooperate fully in the investigations led by the St. Louis County Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Justice Department.
We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and 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 City of Ferguson has been through tough situations in the past, albeit nothing to this magnitude, but will continue to display resilience and fortitude. The Mayor and City Council are committed to taking the necessary steps to rebuild and strengthen our community. We look forward to your cooperation and support.