Missouri Governor Sends National Guard To Ferguson As Unrest Continues

The shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer ignited tensions in Ferguson, Mo., and around the nation. Continued coverage here.

Updates

St. Louis County medical examiner will not confirm the report that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system when he died.


The St. Louis County medical examiner’s officer told BuzzFeed Monday that their autopsy showed Michael Brown died from gunshots wounds, but “we’re not confirming the number, direction, or toxicology.”

The Washington Post is reporting that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system when he died according to a person “who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.”

The St. Louis County medical examiner said they were aware of the article, but would not confirm the report that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system when he died.

In a statement, Gov. Jay Nixon said there will not be a curfew Monday night and the National Guard’s mission will be “limited.”


Last night, Ferguson, Missouri experienced a very difficult and dangerous night as a result of a violent criminal element intent upon terrorizing the community. As long as there are vandals and looters and threats to the people and property of Ferguson, we must take action to protect our citizens.

Following coordinated attacks last night both on civilians and law enforcement officers, I signed an executive order directing the Missouri National Guard to help restore peace and order in Ferguson. The Guard’s immediate and limited responsibilities under the direction of Colonel Ron Replogle of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, are to provide protection, and ensure the safety of our Unified Command Center, which was the target last night of a coordinated attack. The Guard will concentrate its resources on carrying out this limited mission.

Missouri National Guard Brigadier General Gregory Mason will oversee Guard operations in Ferguson under the overall command of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

With these additional resources in place, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement will continue to respond appropriately to incidents of lawlessness and violence, and protect the civil rights of all peaceful citizens to make their voices heard. We will not use a curfew tonight.

Again, I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning the violent acts we saw last night, including the firing upon law enforcement officers, the shooting of a civilian, the throwing of Molotov cocktails, looting and a coordinated attempt to overrun the unified Command Center.

We are all frustrated and looking for justice to be achieved regarding the shooting death of Michael Brown. As the dual investigations continue into what happened nine days ago at Canfield Green, we must defend Ferguson from these violent interlopers so that the peaceful protests can operate in peace and the search for answers and justice can continue.

Volunteers cleaning up after looting, violence in Ferguson.

Tyrell Mosley, his daughter, McKayla, 9, and son Demarre, 6, cleaned up debris along West Florissant Avenue. More Photos Mark Kauzlarich / Reuters

Attorneys and the forensic team who performed autopsy confirm Michael Brown was shot “at least six times, maybe more,” say the “kill shot” went from back to front.

 

Attorneys for Michael Brown’s family said Monday that the “kill shot” that struck Brown in the apex of his head went from a “back to front position,” which is consistent with eyewitness accounts that Brown was surrendering when he was shot by officer Darren Wilson.

The experts who conducted the autopsy on behalf of the Brown family, Dr. Michael Baden and professor Shawn Parcells, forensic pathologist assistant, confirmed that Brown was shot at least six times.

Federal investigators are expected to conduct their autopsy today or tomorrow, Baden said.

“All of the gunshot wounds were survivable except the one at the top of the head that went through the brain,” Baden said.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called the National Guard to Ferguson late Sunday without letting the White House know first, Evan McMorris-Santoro reports.


“Folks didn’t know,” an administration official told BuzzFeed Monday. “The White House did not know they were sending it in.”

Family of Michael Brown will hold a press conference Monday to discuss the results of a private autopsy.


This live stream has ended.

Ferguson schools postpone first day of school citing safety concerns for students.


Monday was supposed to the first day of school for students in the Ferguson-Florissant school district. However, early Monday morning, school officials announced that the district would postpone the start of school year because of concerns for its students safety.

Officials posted a statement on Facebook:

Due to continuing unrest in some areas of Ferguson, and in the interest of the safety of students and families, all schools in the Ferguson-Florissant School District will be closed Monday, August 18.

Information we received from officials on the scene late Sunday evening has contributed to concerns we have about children walking to school or waiting for buses on streets impacted by this activity, debris on the roads that could impact transportation, and continued disruption affecting our students and families in the area.

While our teachers, principals and administration are eager to welcome our students back to school and to begin the 2014-2015 school year, the safety of students is our primary concern.

NAACP asks violent individuals to stop disrupting the Ferguson protests, calls for police racial profiling training.


Esther Haywood, president St. Louis County NAACP, said Monday in a statement:

We want the individuals that may appear to have a private agenda to cause disruption and chaos within the community to stop. We do not want peaceful protestors to appear that they are causing violence and rioting when incidents are being caused by a small group of individuals that are using this tragedy as an opportunity. Although the National Guard being present will cause many inconveniences for the community, we support Governor Nixon’s effort to maintain safety, law and order.

The NAACP is also calling for a formal apology from city of Ferguson to the family of Michael Brown, a state investigation of every Municipal Police Department in St. Louis County that has had a history of police brutality, and for all St. Louis County Police to undergo racial profiling training in the wake of the shooting.

Gov. Nixon’s statement:


Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk. I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning this criminal activity that included firing upon law enforcement officers, shooting a civilian, throwing Molotov cocktails, looting, and a coordinated attempt to block roads and overrun the Unified Command Center. These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory, and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served, and to feel safe in their own homes. Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson, I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard to assist Colonel Ron Replogle and the Unified Command in restoring peace and order to this community.

Johnson said several people were arrested for failing to disperse, but would not give an exact number on how many people were arrested.

At least five people were taken to hospitals with injuries, one police officer said.

instagram.com

Michael Brown was shot at least six times, the New York Times reported Sunday night.


The findings come from a preliminary private autopsy performed at his family’s request, the Times reported. Brown was struck twice in the head and four times in the arm, according to the report, and all the bullets appeared to hit the front of his body.

On Sunday, protesters in Ferguson gathered at a church service rally in remembrance of Michael Brown.

Capt. Ron Johnson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, family members of Michael Brown, and more spoke.

Capt. Johnson spoke around 4:15 p.m. ET, and received a standing ovation after he apologized to the family of Michael Brown — something he wanted to do “while wearing this uniform.”

Rev. Al Sharpton also spoke. “This is a defining moment in our country,” he said. “Ferguson and Michael Brown Jr. will be a defining moment in how this country deals with policing and the rights of the citizens in America.”

ksdk.com

Brown’s cousin, Ty Pruitt, held up his hands as he addressed the crowd. He said Brown had tried to surrender to police before he was shot.

“He was not a suspect. He was not an object. He was not an animal,” Pruitt said. “But that’s how he was killed.”

The reverend called on people to stop looting. “We are not looters … We are not burners; we’re builders.”

He also announced a class action lawsuit for protesters who were injured by police during demonstrations.

Amnesty International has called for an investigation into police tactics used during protests in Ferguson.


In a press release on Sunday, Amnesty International said that it sent a 13-person human rights delegation to Ferguson, comprised of “observers who monitored police and protester activity and sought meetings with officials.” Additional members of the team trained activists in nonviolent protest methods.

“Our delegation traveled to Missouri to let the authorities in Ferguson know that the world is watching,” said Steven W. Hawkins, the executive director of Amnesty International USA.

“We want a thorough investigation into Michael Brown’s death and the series of events that followed … This is a moment for people around the country — and around the world — to join the Ferguson community in raising concerns about race and policing, and about the impact of militarization on our fundamental right to peacefully assemble.”

The midnight Ferguson curfew will continue for an additional day, Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman Al Nothum told St. Louis Today.


Nothum confirmed that seven people, including two residents of Ferguson, were arrested on Sunday morning after failing to abide by the 12 a.m.–5 a.m. curfew.

Highway Patrol officials will provide additional details at a briefing on Sunday afternoon.

Attorney General Eric Holder orders federal medical examiner to conduct additional autopsy on Brown.


Statement from Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon:

Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner. This independent examination will take place as soon as possible. Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon praised the decision: “That is the kind of independent, external national review and investigation of this that I think will assist everyone in making sure we get to justice,” Nixon said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Gov. Jay Nixon said he “deeply” disagreed with decision to release of surveillance video.

View this embed ›

Via nbcnews.com

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said the Ferguson Police Department’s decision to release the video that appears to show Michael Brown taking cigars from a convenience store “put the community, and quite frankly, the nation on alert again.”

Nixon, during his appearances on four Sunday morning talk shows, also called upon St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch to “step up here and do his job.”

NBC News reports:


Johnson defended the move, saying authorities feared for officers’ safety and that a police car was shot at. “Tonight’s response was a proper one,” he said, adding that he was “disappointed” that violence broke out on the city’s streets.

Sky News reported that the man who was shot was hit by another protester.

The police spokesman has now confirmed tear gas has been used.

instagram.com

Photos from the scene show police watching as the gas filled the street, while protesters fled.

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Protesters flee as smoke and tear gas fill the street. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

This police spokesman is unclear on what kind of gas was used – multiple reporters are now saying it was tear gas.

vine.co

Police have just fired several cannisters at protesters. It is unconfirmed what was in them – some reporters say it was smoke, though some eyewitnesses claim otherwise. This Vine suggests press officers originally said it was tear gas, and are now saying it was smoke.

 

The protesters have dispersed due to contents of the cannisters.

About 20 minutes after the curfew went into effect Sunday morning in Ferguson, with rain pouring down, a large group of protesters remained on the scene.

Reporters on the ground, including Vice’s Tim Pool, said police moved toward the group, then began pulling back. youtube.com

While many protesters left, a group of people was still visible in a live video stream. At times, they could be heard chanting “hands up, don’t shoot.”

new.livestream.com

As the 12 a.m. CT curfew went into effect, media were corralled into a small zone at one end of the area protesters had been using.

At the same time, others at the scene tweeted that the crowds were thinning out.

Protests leading up to the curfew Saturday remained peaceful, even as the police presence increased.

The New York Times released a video Saturday with interviews and footage from the protests.

BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner reported Saturday that the Ferguson Police Department released a video of a robbery in which Michael Brown participated over the objections of the Justice Department.

Protests remained peaceful early Saturday evening, but the Ferguson Walmart nevertheless prepared for looting by building makeshift barricades out of shopping carts and merchandise.

These pictures were also part of Alex Wroblewski’s tweet.

In addition to a protest in the evening (scroll down for more on that), the FBI was out Saturday in Ferguson. Mourners grieving Michael Brown’s death also held a vigil.

An FBI agent interviews people in Ferguson Saturday. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

An FBI agent Saturday walks past a memorial erected where teenager Michael Brown was shot. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

People gather around a memorial for Michael Brown on Saturday. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Members of the “Outcast” motorcycle club take part in the vigil in the neighborhood where teenager Michael Brown was shot. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Early Saturday evening protesters were out marching in the streets. Antonio French also tweeted that community members would be out enforcing the curfew.

On Saturday, Yahoo News reported that Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, had recently won an award for police excellence.

Read more about this here. Facebook / Via news.yahoo.com

Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson, Mo., on Saturday and set a curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. ET.

Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and curfew following unrest and looting in Ferguson, Mo., on Friday. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

During a rowdy press conference on Saturday, Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri and set a curfew from midnight to 5 a.m.

“We won’t enforce it with trucks, we won’t enforce it with tear gas, we will enforce it with communication,” according to Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol. He said law enforcement officials will be telling people “It’s time to go home.”

Nixon and Johnson did not say how long the curfew would remain in place.

The press conference erupted into an angry questioning of Nixon and Johnson, with many questioning the imposition of a curfew and demanding to know why Darren Wilson, the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown had yet to be arrested or indicted.
Nixon and Johnson appeared shaken as they attempted to field the questions.

“We can’t have looting and crimes at night,” Nixon said. “We can’t have people fearful.”

FBI agents are on the ground working on the investigation, said Nixon.

On Saturday, CNN reported that the Ferguson police department released the video showing Michael Brown allegedly robbing a store despite objections from the Department of Justice.


On Thursday, Ferguson police wanted to release the video, but waited after the U.S. Justice Department asked them not to, suggesting that it could lead to greater tensions in the Ferguson community, a source told CNN.

A map of stores that were looted early Saturday morning in Ferguson. Click on the red icons to see links to journalists’ tweets and videos of the looting.


Also, drag the map to see icons that may fall outside of the frame.

Protesters in Ferguson stepped in and managed to stop looters, who hit between four and five stores Friday night.


The looting began about midnight, after police fired tear gas then faced off with about 200 protesters, the Associated Press reported. Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson — who took over security in the area on Thursday — told the AP police fired the gas after members of the crowd threw rocks and other things at officers. The conflict left one police officer injured.

However, despite firing the gas and ordering people to clear the street, police did not move into the crowd, nor did they make any arrests. Instead, protesters themselves eventually stepped in and formed lines in front of the stores, barring looters from entering.

As the chaos subsided early Saturday morning, images captured by witnesses showed the destruction.

As the situation deteriorated Friday night, Tim Pool — a videographer for Vice — reported that people began looting a liquor store and an electronics store.

new.livestream.com

Others at the scene tweeted about looters striking additional stores.

In a live video stream, Pool said some protesters tried to stop the looters, but couldn’t stop “dozens” of people. Others at the scene tweeted pictures of the damage looters caused.

The relative calm that began Thursday was shattered briefly Friday night when police donned riot gear and fired tear gas. Some reports from social media indicated police were responding to someone who threw a bottle.

Police briefly left the scene after firing the gas.

But soon returned with riot gear and armored trucks.

FBI, Justice Officials Announce Next Steps In Federal Civil Rights Investigation In Ferguson, Missouri:

Brown’s cousin calls release of video “smoke and mirrors.”

Brown family attorney Daryl Parks

Lawyers for the family said the Ferguson police “strategically” released the surveillance video and police report on the alleged convenience store robbery to “assassinate the character” of Michael Brown.

It has not been confirmed that Brown is in the security camera footage shot approximately 15 minutes before Brown died. Parks said that the person in the video alleged to be Brown “appears to look like him.”

Brown’s cousin Eric Davis called the release of the video and police report smoke and mirrors to distract people.

Davis and the attorneys urged people to remain peaceful, despite their frustrations with the way the police are handling this case.

“Do not take the bait,” family attorney Anthony Gray said. “Do not react negatively.”

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said the officer who shot Michael Brown did not know he was a robbery suspect at the time of the confrontation.

KSDK

Brown was stopped by Wilson because he was “walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic. That’s it,” Jackson said.

Ferguson said he “had to” release the dispatch records and video surveillance even though the confrontation with Wilson, who fatally shot the unarmed teenager last week, had nothing to do with the alleged robbery.

Jackson said the media asked for the video.

Surveillance video released by police purports to show a robbery at a convenience store linked to the Michael Brown shooting.

youtube.com

Ferguson police say that this video shows Michael Brown stealing cigars from a convenience store and pushing the clerk when he tried to stop him. There are questions about whether it is Brown shown in the footage, and why police released the police report and video on this robbery and no new details about the interaction between Brown and the officer who shot him last week.

Attorneys for Michael Brown’s family says they are “beyond outraged” at the manner in which the Ferguson police released information Friday.


“Michael Brown’s family is beyond outraged at the devious way the police chief has chosen to disseminate piecemeal information in a manner intended to assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight.

There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender.

The prolonged release of the officer’s name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.

It is no way transparent to release the still photographs alleged to be Michael Brown and refuse to release the photographs of the officer that executed him.

The police strategy of attempting to blame the victim will not divert our attention, from being focused on the autopsy, ballistics report and the trajectory of the bullets that caused Michael’s death and will demonstrate to the world this brutal execution of an unarmed teenager.”

Johnson says he’ll review the police report released today on the alleged robbery linked to the Michael Brown shooting.

Capt. Ron Johnson and Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson says Ferguson had a “great night” on Thursday. Johnson says there were no arrests, roadblocks, or tear gas used during the protests.

Johnson called for continued calm in Ferguson on Friday, amid the anger some residents were expressing over the way the report on the alleged robbery linked to the Michael Brown shooting was released.

“In our anger we have to make sure we don’t burn down our own house,” Johnson said.

Gov. Jay Nixon said that neither he nor Johnson had yet to see the information released by the Ferguson police Friday. Johnson said he would meet with police today and review the information.

“Today I will meet with the chief of Ferguson and talk about how that (information) was released,” he said. “This afternoon I will walk back down to the QuikTrip and explain to the people there what I saw was in the packet and explain what was unclear.”

Here is the report released today by Ferguson police and published by CNN for an alleged convenience store robbery that happened about 14 minutes before Michael Brown was shot and killed. Ferguson police say Brown is a suspect in the robbery.

View this embed ›

The report describes the man police say is Brown as 6’4, 292 pounds and wearing a white T-shirt, khaki long shorts, yellow socks and a red Cardinals baseball cap.

According to the report, Brown took a box of Swisher Sweet cigars, valued at about $49. The report states that the store clerk, whose name is redacted, came out from behind the counter and attempted to stop Brown and Johnson from leaving the store without paying. That is when Brown allegedly grabbed the clerk by the shirt and exited the store.

Ferguson residents are protesting at the QuikTrip following the report that Michael Brown is an alleged suspect in a convenience store robbery that occurred on the day he died.

Protestors said they believed the disclosure was an attempt to justify the shooting. vine.co

Police announce name of officer who fatally shot Brown

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Chief Thomas Jackson said Friday Darren Wilson is the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown on Saturday, sparking days of protests.

Wilson is a six-year veteran of the Ferguson police department, Jackson said. He has no history of disciplinary action. He has not been formally charged or arrested yet, said Jackson.

Previously police have cited safety concerns as the reason for not naming the officer who killed the unarmed teenager. According to reports, Wilson and his family have been moved from the town as a safety precaution.

Jackson briefly described events leading up to the shooting, saying Wilson was at a sick call Saturday when a 9-1-1 call came in reporting a robbery at a convenience store. Wilson left the sick call and was responding to the report when he encountered Brown.

The packet of information distributed Friday include surveillance images of a convenience store robbery.

Earlier Friday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told ABC News that he supported the naming of the officer.

“I think those kinds of concrete steps of transparency leading to justice are vitally important now to heal the old wounds that have been made a fresh by this difficult and horrific situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, rumors circulating on social media misidentified Officer Darren Wilson as Sgt. Darren R. Wilson who is President of the Ethical Society of Police in St.Louis. He issued a clarification on his Facebook page, calling it “a horrific coincidence.”

Police have said that three officers have been hit with rocks, three patrol cars have been damaged and no arrests have been made in the overnight protests in Ferguson.

Police in Ferguson plan to release on Friday the name of the officer who killed Michael Brown, CNN reported.


A source “close to the investigation” told CNN’s Julian Cummings the name of the officer who shot and killed Brown would be made public Friday. Despite repeated questions and alleged leaks, the police have thus far resisted disclosing the officer’s name.

Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol took over police operations in Ferguson Thursday evening. He told residents and media he would not tolerate looting, but he also would not tolerate violations of people’s rights to assemble and speak.

Justice Department Expects Less Militarization On Ferguson Streets

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Evan McMorris-Santoro reports:

As residents of Ferguson, Missouri, prepare Thursday for another night of demonstrations following the police shooting of Michael Brown, six separate agencies from the Department of Justice are on the ground to facilitate community relations, investigate Brown’s death, and according to a Justice Department official, keep the military-like police presence to a minimum.

“You’re going to see less militarization on the ground thanks to guidance from the Justice Department,” the official said Thursday afternoon.

Agencies from the department are following through on concerns about police tactics raised by Attorney General Eric Holder in his statement on the Ferguson situation Thursday.

Missouri Governor Says State Highway Patrol Will Take Over Security In Ferguson

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, said he is turning oversight of the Ferguson situation over to the Missouri State Highway Patrol under the command of Capt. Ronald S. Johnson. Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via Associated Press

Mike Hayes reports:

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon traveled to Ferguson, Mo., Thursday and announced that the Missouri Highway Patrol will take over security in the city from the St. Louis County Police due to the rapidly declining situation following the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

“The Missouri Highway Patrol will be directing the team that provides security in Ferguson,” Nixon said Thursday at a press conference. Highway patrol will not be involved in the investigation into the shooting.

Nixon, who said Ferguson has looked like a “war zone” at times this week, appointed Captain Ron Johnson to direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol in Ferguson.

“I grew up here…I understand the anger and fear the citizens of Ferguson are feeling,” Johnson said at the press conference.

Nixon said the change in command will help with the tone of the response.

“We should all know there will be resources out there if things get difficult, that people will be safe,” he said.

The governor’s decision comes one day after Ferguson saw the most intense and widely-publicized unrest since the Michael Brown shooting. According to reports, on Wednesday night several police were injured and multiple people were arrested including two journalists and a local politician.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told CNN in an interview earlier Thursday that St. Louis County Police have been “running the show” in Ferguson since the protests started four days ago.

Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who confronted Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson on Wednesday, had the following response to Nixon’s announcement:

“Anyone who thinks that race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. And the root of the problem is big government, Senator Paul wrote in an opinion piece Time.

National Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Brutality


Over 90 vigils are taking place around the country Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. ET. More information here.

Representative King: “I’m not sure why they’re not looting the tattoo parlor”


Republican Rep. Steve King made a number of comments about the clashes between police and protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of an unarmed black teenager, Andrew Kaczynski reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s Statement on Ferguson:


“This morning, I met with President Obama to discuss the events in Ferguson, Missouri. Like the President, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Michael Brown. While his death has understandably caused heartache within the community, it is clear that the scenes playing out in the streets of Ferguson over the last several nights cannot continue.

“For one thing, while the vast majority of protests have been peaceful, acts of violence by members of the public cannot be condoned. Looting and willful efforts to antagonize law enforcement officers who are genuinely trying to protect the public do nothing to remember the young man who has died. Such conduct is unacceptable and must be unequivocally condemned.

“By the same token, the law enforcement response to these demonstrations must seek to reduce tensions, not heighten them. Those who peacefully gather to express sympathy for the family of Michael Brown must have their rights respected at all times. And journalists must not be harassed or prevented from covering a story that needs to be told.

“At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community, I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message. At my direction, Department officials have conveyed these concerns to local authorities. Also at my direction, the Department is offering – through our COPS office and Office of Justice Programs – technical assistance to local authorities in order to help conduct crowd control and maintain public safety without relying on unnecessarily extreme displays of force. The local authorities in Missouri have accepted this offer of assistance as of this afternoon.

“Department officials from the Community Relations Service are also on the ground in Missouri to help convene law enforcement officials and civic and faith leaders to plot out steps to reduce tensions in the community. The latest such meeting was convened in Ferguson as recently as this morning. Over time, these conversations should consider the role that increased diversity in law enforcement can play in helping to build trust within communities.

“All the while, the federal civil rights investigation into the shooting incident itself continues, in parallel with the local investigation into state law violations. Our investigators from the Civil Rights Division and U.S. attorney’s office in Missouri have already conducted interviews with eyewitnesses on the scene at the time of the shooting incident on Saturday. Our review will take time to conduct, but it will be thorough and fair.”

From Uganda to the West Bank, people are seeing an eerie familiarity when looking at events in Ferguson, J. Lester Feder reports.

Here’s How Much Cable News Covered Ferguson This Morning

s3-ec.buzzfed.com

Dorsey Shaw reports: Here is the total time in broadcast minutest that cable news networks spent on Thursday morning discussing the violence in Ferguson, Missouri, between police and protestors after the the police shooting of an unarmed teenager last week.

The Scene In Ferguson


BuzzFeed’s Joel Anderson reports from Ferguson:

The protest area across the street from the city’s police and fire stations became the scene for the largest and most vocal crowds in town on Thursday. People started gathering in the lot of a tire and wheel shop in the early-morning hours, many of them awaiting the release of St. Louis city alderman and recent media sensation Antonio French. The previous night, French had been arrested with more than a dozen other protestors — including two of his colleagues who work at his St. Louis-based non-profit organization — in the midst of another clash with local law enforcement authorities. He said he was booked on a charge of unlawful assembly.

Within a couple of hours, a larger group of about 50 protestors marched down North Florissant Road, which runs in front of the city’s public safety buildings, and eventually into the fire station. There, they exhorted the crowd to resume chants of “No justice! No peace!” and railed against city leadership, with a few calling for a recall of the city’s mayor.

They peacefully left the fire station and took their spot at the parking lot across the street, making way for Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson. Jackson told reporters that he’d brokered a deal with the local NAACP chapters and other community activists, allowing protestors to congregate on the sidewalks of West Florissant, which has been scene for much of the unrest and clashes between law enforcement authorities in recent days. That area is only yards from where Brown was shot and killed on Saturday.

“We just need everyone to calm down,” Jackson said. “It’s a powder keg out there.”

Jackson also promised local law enforcement officers will change their approach to protestors in the coming days and are holding ongoing meetings to reevaluate their tactics.

Democratic Congressman Will Introduce Police Demilitarization Bill

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Evan McMorris-Santoro reports: Amid growing criticism of the military-style equipment and tactics deployed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, a Democrat from Georgia plans to introduce the “Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act” in Congress next month.

Rep. Hank Johnson asked his all his colleagues Thursday to join him in supporting the bill, which he said in a letter “will end the free transfers of certain aggressive military equipment to local law enforcement and ensure that all equipment can be accounted for.”

Jackson also said that the name released buy hacker collective Anonymous does not belong to any officer in St. Louis County or in Ferguson. Later, Twitter suspended the account. The group switched to another Twitter account @TheAnonMessage2.

Congresswoman: Police In Ferguson Doing “More Harm Than Good”


Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in a statement Thursday the actions of the police in Ferguson, Missouri, reminded her of wars and uprisings abroad.

“An elected official was arrested, journalists are being assaulted and innocent, unarmed individuals are having weapons pointed in their faces for merely being outside of their homes,” said Fudge. “What I saw last night reminded me of violent responses to uprisings in countries around the world, not here in my own backyard. We are supposed to be better than that.” More from Kate Nocera

Gov. Jay Nixon Promises “Operational Shift” In Way Protests Are Handled


Speaking to civic and faith leaders on Thursday, Nixon said there will be a change in tone in the way the demonstrations are handled.

He also urged law enforcement agencies to “keep the peace and respect the rights of residents and the press.”

“We must make sure that justice prevails, without fear or favor,” he said.

Nixon said he will have a news conference with more details at 4 p.m. ET today.

Earlier in the day, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said that there is a need to “demilitarize” the situation in Ferguson.

President Obama Urges Calm in Ferguson

BuzzFeed

President Obama urged calm in Ferguson, Missouri in remarks Thursday on the escalating situation between police and protestors following the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer.

“I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by the images we’ve seen in the heartland of our country as police have clashed with people protesting. Today I’d like us all to take a step back and think about how we’re going to be moving forward,” the president said. “This morning I received a thorough update on the situation from Attorney General Eric Holder and have been in communication with his team. I’ve already tasked the Department of Justice and the FBI to independently investigate the death of Michael Brown along with local officials on the ground.”

The president added the Department of Justice was working with local authorities to find ways to maintain peaceful protests while avoiding “unnecessary escalation.”

Obama also spoke Thursday with Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri, who is traveling to Ferguson to make sure public safety is maintained.

“I also just spoke with Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri. I expressed my concern over the violent turn that events have taken on the ground and underscored that now’s the time for all of us to reflect on what’s happened and to find a way to come together going forward. He’s going to be traveling to Ferguson. He’s a good man and a fine governor, and I’m confident that working together he’s going to be able to communicate his desire to make sure that justice is done and his desire to make sure that public safety is maintained in an appropriate way.”

Reflecting on the death of Michael Brown, which the president called “heartbreaking,” Obama urged a transparent investigation from local police into the teen’s death.

“Of course, it’s important to remember how this started. We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances. He was 18 years old. His family will never hold Michael in their arms again. And when something like this happens, the local authorities — including the police — have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death and how they are protecting the people in their communities.

Obama said “there is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Speaking on the arrest of two journalists, the president said police should not be arresting journalist or “bullying” journalists “who are just trying to do their jobs.”

The president concluded by urging clam in Ferguson and saying “now’s the time for healing,” saying to let the investigation into Brown’s death run its course to dee that “justice is done.”

“Let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law,” he said. “A basic respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protest. A reverence for the dignity of every single man, woman and child among us and the need for accountability when it comes to our government.”

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Facebook Conversations