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Ferguson, Mo., police, who have battled three nights of protests over the police shooting of an unarmed teen, called on demonstrators Wednesday to hold future protests and vigils only during daylight hours.

WITNESS: Teen friend shot 'like an animal'

A statement issued by the Ferguson Police Department expressed sympathy over the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Saturday, saying "police are working to restore confidence in the safety of our community and our neighborhoods so that we may begin the healing process."

The statement said the city and police department "have heard the community's cries for justice" and pledged to cooperate fully with local and federal investigations into the fatal shooting.

READ: Full statement from Ferguson PD

"We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner," the statement said. "We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble to disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of our community."

It said that some individuals had co-opted peaceful protests during the past three nights and turned them into violent demonstrations.

Brown was shot and killed Saturday. Dorian Johnson, who was standing beside the victim at the time, told KSDK-TV that Brown was shot in the head and chest while holding his hands up and facing the police officer who had stopped them on the street.

On Sunday, a protest deteriorated into chaos, with angry mobs smashing windows and looting businesses. Police have used tear gas on at least two nights to control crowds in this town of 21,000 people.

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