FERGUSON, Mo. -- The city of Ferguson, Missouri, called for calm Tuesday, asking its residents to stop the protests that have been going on each night since a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, on Aug. 9.
"It is our hope that as we continue to work for the well-being of Ferguson, residents will stay home at night, allow peace to settle in, and allow for the justice process to take its course," said the city leadership in a press release.
Ferguson's call for calm comes a day after press noted that the St. Louis suburb had hired a public relations firm to help it deal with the crisis.
Ferguson's overwhelmingly white government has been widely criticized for its disconnect from its residents, the majority of whom are African-American. In Tuesday's press release, the city leadership promised to take measures to make the community "feel more connected," including more transparency in police operations, an effort to increase the number of black police officers and a promise to engage young people in the city with better resources and more jobs.
Monday night had started peacefully. Police shut off West Florissant Avenue to most traffic and kept protesters on the sidewalks, subduing the party-like atmosphere from the previous evening. But tensions rose later Monday night, resulting in more clashes between police and the crowd.
Most residents with whom The Huffington Post has spoken said they're not sure how and when the nightly protests will end but believe that the arrest of Darren Wilson, the white officer who shot Brown, would be a major step in that direction.
"I think the one thing that can happen that may act to de-escalate this is the arrest of Darren Wilson and an indictment," said St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been a constant presence at the protests. "If these guys know that justice is being done and if we can help restore their faith that justice will be served for Michael Brown and his family, then we have a chance to get them to calm down."
Want more updates from Amanda? Sign up for her newsletter, Piping Hot Truth.