Governor ‘hopeful’ of progress in Ferguson

Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.) said Sunday that he’s “hopeful” that progress is being made to ease tensions in violence-torn Ferguson, but did not give a timeline for the investigation or the end of the curfew there.

Asked on CNN's "State of the Union" about a timeline for charges against the white police officer who shot Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, setting off the week of protests, Nixon said "I will let the prosecutor speak for himself on what his time frame is."

He repeatedly stressed that Attorney General Eric Holder had provided 40 FBI agents for a separate federal investigation, and said the dual investigations would bring justice.

Asked about doubting the local prosecutor on "Meet the Press," Nixon said, "He's a seasoned prosecutor that has an opportunity to step up here and do his job."

He also said the decision by Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson to release a surveillance video of Brown appearing to shoplift from a convenience story before he was shot was not helpful.

Nixon said he did not know of the video’s release beforehand and called it an "attempt to disparage the character of the victim in the middle of this process."

Asked then if Jackson should step down, Nixon said only, "We've had very serious discussions about that action and how much we thought it was not the right way to handle the victim's family."

A curfew went into effect for the first time Sunday morning from midnight to 5 a.m. Nixon would not say when the curfew would end, but it "could be" several days.

"We are trying to use the least amount of force to provide people to — the ability to speak, while also protecting the property of the people of Ferguson."

Seven people were arrested in Ferguson after the curfew went into effect early Sunday morning. Police also used smoke canisters and tear gas in their response to a shooting at a barbeque restaurant.

“Obviously we thought last night was better but as far as the shooting, it was not involving law enforcement last night, it was a private matter. And we’ll chase down what happened as the day goes on,” Nixon said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Nixon said he feels “much better” now that the state police are patrolling Ferguson.

“That first night was pretty peaceful, the second night went relatively well until very late, and we saw some looting,” he said. “And that’s why we declared a curfew with requests from local officials. And last night, no property damage of any significant sort, and the thousands of folks there, certainly there were seven folks detained and had to be arrested, but most of those folks weren’t directly from the area. So we’re hopeful that we’re making progress.”

“I think it’s right for people to grieve. I think it’s right for people to speak,” he added. “And it’s important that we get justice in this matter, and the dual investigations being done by the local prosecutor and justice will come to their conclusion.”

--Kyle Balluck contributed to this report, which was originally published at 10:21 a.m. and last updated at 11:03 a.m.

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