FERGUSON, Mo. - The streets where Michael Brown's death brought angry protests were calm again Thursday and early Friday morning, with the collective mood more reflective of a street fair than protest.
"It was another good night,'' Missouri State Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said at a 1 a.m. briefing. "We're heading toward a sense of peace for our community. Through 12:30 a.m., there were just seven arrests, including five for failing to disperse.
Thursday night, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill strolled among the relatively sparse crowds while vendors hawked T-shirts. The Missouri Democrat expressed confidence that the violent protests that gripped this community of 21,000 for much of the past 11 days are over. "I think it's time for a lot of the (media) to leave here, she said.
After a night of relative calm Wednesday and into early Thursday morning Gov. Jay Nixon ordered National Guard troops to begin withdrawing from Ferguson. Johnson said he expected troops would begin leaving later Friday.
Earlier Thursday, along West Florissant Avenue, the scene of nightly demonstrations, there was a sense of normalcy. People strolled to stores and city buses were back on schedule.
The spot where Brown, 18, was killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson Aug. 9 was quiet, save for a few onlookers and reporters who took photos of the flowers, candles and stuffed animals left in memoriam. A preliminary autopsy found Brown was shot six times, including twice in the head.
Contributing: Doug Stanglin, Kevin Johnson and Jonathan Shorman, of the Springfield News-Leader.