Police in Ferguson, Missouri, used tear gas to clear the streets during demonstrations against the fatal police shooting of black Missouri teenager Michael Brown.

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A protester kicks a tear gas canister back towards policeReuters
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Cassandra Roberts, who came from a nearby St Louis suburb to show her solidarity with the protesters, has her face doused with milk in McDonald's after suffering the effects of tear gasGetty
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Tear gas canisters are fired during protests against the shooting of Michael Brown in FergusonReuters
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Protesters are sprayed with milk to help alleviate the symptoms of tear gasReuters
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A man is helped as he suffers from the effects of tear gasGetty
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A man reacts after being overcome by the effects of tear gasGetty

As night fell, a peaceful protest quickly deteriorated after marchers pushed toward one end of a street. The clashes erupted three hours before the midnight curfew imposed by Governor Jay Nixon. Officers in riot gear ordered all the protesters to disperse. Many of the marchers retreated, but a group of about 100 stood defiantly about two blocks away before facing a volley of tear gas.

Authorities said they were responding to reports of gunfire, looting, vandalism and protesters who hurled Molotov cocktails. "Based on the conditions, I had no alternative but to elevate the level of response," said Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who is in command in Ferguson. At least two people were wounded in shootings, he said.

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Police officers in riot gear advance toward demonstratorsGetty
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Police take cover after gunshots rang out during the protestGetty
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Police officers react after reports of looting at the Dellwood MarketReuters
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Supporters of Michael Brown's family attend a rally at Greater Grace ChurchGetty

The "extraordinary circumstances" surrounding the death of the 18-year-old Michael Brown prompted the Justice Department's decision to conduct a third autopsy.

A preliminary private autopsy, asked for by Brown's family, shows the teenager was shot at least six times, the New York Times reported. Citing Dr. Michael M Baden, former chief medical examiner for the City of New York, the newspaper reported that Brown was shot twice in the head, and that the bullets that hit him did not appear to have been fired from very close range because no gunpowder was detected on his body. That conclusion could change, however, if gunshot residue is found on Brown's clothing, the newspaper said.

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Demonstrators gesture towards police after tear gas was firedReuters
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People wait for police to react after they refused to honour the midnight curfew in FergusonGetty
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Demonstrators chant "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" at police officers in a vehicleGetty
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Demonstrators hand cups of water or milk through a broken McDonald's window after tear gas was firedReuters
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Michael Brown Sr, the father of the slain teenager, attends a rally at Greater Grace Church in FergusonGetty
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Demonstrators display a sign calling for US president Barack Obama to visit FergusonGetty

The protests have been going on since Brown's death heightened racial tensions between the predominantly black community and the mostly white Ferguson Police Department. Ferguson police waited six days to publicly reveal the name of the officer and documents alleging Brown robbed a convenience store shortly before he was killed. The officer who shot Brown has been identified as Darren Wilson, a six-year police veteran who had no previous complaints against him.