National Guard called into Ferguson, Missouri

(photo courtesy NBC News)
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National Guard units with armored vehicles are lined up tonight at a staging area about a half-mile from the scene of the largest protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old by police.

Earlier today, Gov. Jay Nixon lifted the neighborhood's midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew. He had summoned the National Guard overnight after police again used tear gas to quell protesters.

Nixon said the National Guard troops would be under the direction of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which is overseeing security during protests.

Closer to the protest site, a crowd of demonstrators formed and is growing in size tonight. Sheriff's deputies in body armor and state troopers carrying wooden bats and gas masks stood watch over the group.

Police told protesters that they could not assemble in a single spot, saying they had to keep moving. In federal court, a judge denied a request from the American Civil Liberties Union for a restraining order that would have prevented authorities from enforcing the rule. And police said that two men were arrested for disorderly conduct and failure to disperse.

A grand jury could begin hearing evidence Wednesday to determine whether the white officer involved in the shooting of Michael Brown, who was black, should be charged.

Activists ask protesters to clear streets

Leaders of the Nation of Islam and other black activist groups working to calm tensions in Ferguson are asking protesters to clear the streets of the St. Louis suburb at sunset amid the National Guard's arrival.

Organizers from the New Black Panther Party, Black Lawyers for Justice and other groups joined St. Louis-area community activists Monday to again call for restraint on the part of protesters seething over the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

They also condemned Nixon's decision to summon the National Guard, which they fear could escalate the violence.

The call to clear the streets came as police accelerated their own crowd control efforts Monday, including the blocking of access to the burned-out QuikTrip convenience store that has become the hub of demonstrations.

Police set up protest zone

Authorities are setting up a designated protest zone for nightly demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri.

The plan was announced Monday by St. Louis County police. Spokesman Brian Schellman says authorities are encouraging peaceful protesters to stay in the zone.

But it wasn't clear what would happen to those who refuse to go into the designated area along West Florissant Avenue, where the majority of protests have occurred.

Lawsuit seeks records related to shooting

An attorneys' group is suing to try to get police records about the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

The lawsuit filed Monday by the National Bar Association contends the Ferguson Police Department is in violation of the state open-records law for not releasing reports, videos and photos about the Aug. 9 shooting. It also seeks records related to Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson has said everything pertaining to the investigation of Brown's shooting is being handled by the St. Louis County Police Department.

But Jackson did release the officer's name last week, as well as police reports and surveillance video from a convenience store robbery in which Brown was a suspect.

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