Difference between revisions of "Shooting in Ferguson, Missouri"

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*Rep. [[Justin Amash]] (R-MI) criticized the militarization of the police department's reaction to protests and riots, tweeting, "Is this a war zone or a US city? Gov't escalates tensions w/military equipment & tactics?"<ref>[http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/215105-ferguson-war-zone-or-us-city#ixzz3AUNSYkdw ''The Hill'', "Ferguson: 'War zone or US city?'," August 14, 2014]</ref>
 
*Rep. [[Justin Amash]] (R-MI) criticized the militarization of the police department's reaction to protests and riots, tweeting, "Is this a war zone or a US city? Gov't escalates tensions w/military equipment & tactics?"<ref>[http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/215105-ferguson-war-zone-or-us-city#ixzz3AUNSYkdw ''The Hill'', "Ferguson: 'War zone or US city?'," August 14, 2014]</ref>
  
*Sen. [[Rand Paul]] (R-KY) wrote about the shooting in a ''Time'' editorial, stating that "it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them." He went on to explain, "Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies — where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement"<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/rand-pauls-race-moment-110040.html#ixzz3AUmY7xcm ''Politico'', "Rand Paul’s race moment," August 15, 2014]</ref>
+
*[[File:Rand Paul.jpg|right|thumb|125px|Sen. [[Rand Paul]] (R-KY)|link=Rand Paul]]Sen. [[Rand Paul]] (R-KY) wrote about the shooting in a ''Time'' editorial, stating that "it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them." He went on to explain, "Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies — where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement"<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/rand-pauls-race-moment-110040.html#ixzz3AUmY7xcm ''Politico'', "Rand Paul’s race moment," August 15, 2014]</ref>
  
 
*Sen. [[Ted Cruz]] (R-TX) also weighed in on the shooting and following violent protests, stating, "Civil liberties must be protected, but violence is not the answer. Once the unrest is brought to an end, we should examine carefully what happened to ensure that justice is served." He also made a statement about the reporters who were arrested while covering the events, "Reporters should never be detained — a free press is too important — simply for doing their jobs."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/cruz-ferguson-killing-tragic-110010.html#ixzz3AUoRZzue ''Politico'', "Rand Paul, Ted Cruz weigh in on Ferguson," August 14, 2014]</ref>
 
*Sen. [[Ted Cruz]] (R-TX) also weighed in on the shooting and following violent protests, stating, "Civil liberties must be protected, but violence is not the answer. Once the unrest is brought to an end, we should examine carefully what happened to ensure that justice is served." He also made a statement about the reporters who were arrested while covering the events, "Reporters should never be detained — a free press is too important — simply for doing their jobs."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/cruz-ferguson-killing-tragic-110010.html#ixzz3AUoRZzue ''Politico'', "Rand Paul, Ted Cruz weigh in on Ferguson," August 14, 2014]</ref>
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'''August 19, 2014'''<br>
 
'''August 19, 2014'''<br>
*[[Missouri]] Representative [[Emanuel Cleaver]] (D-MO) commenting on President Obama's decision to send [[Eric Holder]] to Ferguson, "I don’t think the president needs to come to Ferguson. It adds another distortion. We don’t need that now. We don’t need any more people coming into Ferguson to help the poor people out during this time of trouble. What we need is a sense of calm and anything other than that is going to be dangerous."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/emanuel-cleaver-ferguson-reaction-110139.html#ixzz3Are7wo9p ''Politico'', "Emanuel Cleaver: Ferguson looks like Fallujah," August 19, 2014]</ref>
+
*[[File:Claire_McCaskill.jpg|right|125px|thumb|Sen. [[Claire McCaskill]]|link=Claire McCaskill]][[Missouri]] Representative [[Emanuel Cleaver]] (D-MO) commenting on President Obama's decision to send [[Eric Holder]] to Ferguson, "I don’t think the president needs to come to Ferguson. It adds another distortion. We don’t need that now. We don’t need any more people coming into Ferguson to help the poor people out during this time of trouble. What we need is a sense of calm and anything other than that is going to be dangerous."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/emanuel-cleaver-ferguson-reaction-110139.html#ixzz3Are7wo9p ''Politico'', "Emanuel Cleaver: Ferguson looks like Fallujah," August 19, 2014]</ref>
  
*[[File:Claire_McCaskill.jpg|right|125px|thumb|Sen. [[Claire McCaskill]]|link=Claire McCaskill]]Missouri Senator [[Claire McCaskill]] (D-MO) raised questions as to the makeup of the protesting crowd, stating, "The protesters have now been invaded, and embedded among them are a group of instigators, some coming from other states, that want a confrontation with the police." She also reiterated that it would not be a good time for President Obama to visit Ferguson for "practical reasons."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/claire-mccaskill-ferguson-protests-invaded-110142.html#ixzz3ArfcIN00 ''Politico'', "McCaskill: Protests were 'invaded'," August 19, 2014]</ref>
+
*Missouri Senator [[Claire McCaskill]] (D-MO) raised questions as to the makeup of the protesting crowd, stating, "The protesters have now been invaded, and embedded among them are a group of instigators, some coming from other states, that want a confrontation with the police." She also reiterated that it would not be a good time for President Obama to visit Ferguson for "practical reasons."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/claire-mccaskill-ferguson-protests-invaded-110142.html#ixzz3ArfcIN00 ''Politico'', "McCaskill: Protests were 'invaded'," August 19, 2014]</ref>
  
 
===Non-governmental organization reactions===
 
===Non-governmental organization reactions===
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==Possible ramifications==
 
==Possible ramifications==
 
===Holder's Ferguson visit===
 
===Holder's Ferguson visit===
On August 18, 2014, President Obama met with [[U.S. Department of Justice|U.S. Attorney General]] [[Eric Holder]] and decided to send Holder to Ferguson to look into the incident and ongoing problems. On the decision, he stated, "While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police, only deserves to raise tensions and stir chaos, it undermines, rather than advancing justice."<ref name="holdervisit"/> Called on to join Holder for the trip to Ferguson were [[Missouri]] Senators [[Roy Blunt]] (R) and [[Claire McCaskill]] (D), who both expressed their pleasure in having Holder see the situation first hand and the department's assistance in the investigation already underway, although Blunt made clear his opposition to the federal investigators taking over the case from state investigators, if it were to be proposed.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/ferguson-eric-holder-claire-mccaskill-roy-blunt-missouri-110126.html ''Politico'', "Missouri senators to join Eric Holder," August 18, 2014]</ref>
+
On August 18, 2014, President Obama met with [[U.S. Department of Justice|U.S. Attorney General]] [[Eric Holder]] and decided to send Holder to Ferguson to look into the incident and ongoing problems. On the decision, he stated, "While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police, only deserves to raise tensions and stir chaos, it undermines, rather than advancing justice."<ref name="holdervisit"/> Called on to join Holder for the trip to Ferguson were [[Missouri]] Senators [[Roy Blunt]] (R) and [[Claire McCaskill]] (D), both of whom expressed their pleasure in having Holder see the situation first hand and the department's assistance in the investigation already underway, although Blunt made clear his opposition to the idea of federal investigators taking over the case from state investigators, if it were to be proposed.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/ferguson-eric-holder-claire-mccaskill-roy-blunt-missouri-110126.html ''Politico'', "Missouri senators to join Eric Holder," August 18, 2014]</ref>
  
 
===Online petition to Obama===
 
===Online petition to Obama===
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===Legislative action===
 
===Legislative action===
Rep. [[Hank Johnson]] (D-GA) wrote a letter to members of Congress notifying them of a bill he was drafting aimed toward demilitarizing local police departments. On August 14, 2014, he wrote, "Our main streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s. Unfortunately, due to a Department of Defense (DOD) Program that transfers surplus DOD equipment to state and local law enforcement, our local police are quickly beginning to resemble paramilitary forces." He called the bill the "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act," looking to end the Defense Department program that allowed local law enforcement agencies access to military surplus items.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/dem-pushes-feguson-machine-gun-bill-110011.html#ixzz3AlI9NJCt ''Politico'', "Dem pushes Ferguson machine gun bill," August 14, 2014]</ref>
+
[[File:Henry_C._Johnson.jpg|right|thumb|125px|Rep. [[Hank Johnson]] (D-GA)|link=Hank Johnson]]Rep. [[Hank Johnson]] (D-GA) wrote a letter to members of Congress notifying them of a bill he was drafting aimed toward demilitarizing local police departments. On August 14, 2014, he wrote, "Our main streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s. Unfortunately, due to a Department of Defense (DOD) Program that transfers surplus DOD equipment to state and local law enforcement, our local police are quickly beginning to resemble paramilitary forces." He called the bill the "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act," looking to end the Defense Department program that allowed local law enforcement agencies access to military surplus items.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/dem-pushes-feguson-machine-gun-bill-110011.html#ixzz3AlI9NJCt ''Politico'', "Dem pushes Ferguson machine gun bill," August 14, 2014]</ref>
  
 
===Congressional Black Caucus hearings===
 
===Congressional Black Caucus hearings===

Revision as of 15:15, 20 August 2014


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Federal Issues

Economy
United States budget debate, 2013American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
National security
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2014 illegal immigration surge
Michael Brown, an 18-year-old resident of the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, was shot and killed by a police officer on August 9, 2014. Brown and a friend reportedly got into an altercation with a police officer, Darren Wilson, who fired his weapon on Brown. A robbery had reportedly taken place at a convenience store just prior to the shooting with the suspect allegedly matching Brown's description. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a federal investigation into the matter on August 11, 2014.

Riots and violence from Ferguson citizens began the night of August 10, 2014. Looting and protests against the police led to officers shooting tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds hoping to bring order to the community. By August 12, 2014, the police department announced that 32 people had been arrested in connection to the violence and looting, with the department defending their tactics, stating, "What occurred last night, the mob action, we know certainly is not representative of what's going on and what the people in the neighborhood necessarily think."[1]

Following days of riots and violence, Missouri Highway Patrol took over security in Ferguson on August 14, 2014, with the intent of changing the mood of the area and de-escalating the violence. The highway patrol ditched riot gear for plain clothes, talked with the people and even marched with them for a short time. Ron Johnson, the captain of the patrol, said of his personal ties to the area, "I roamed these streets. When the media from out of state is gone and when the people from out of this community are gone, Ron Johnson is still going to be here."[2]

Wilson's identity as the shooting officer was revealed on August 15, 2014, following days of death threats. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) called the release of the officer's name a "good move" as the violence de-escalated.[3]

Autopsy results, released on August 17, 2014, showed Brown was shot six times by Wilson, including two shots to his head. His clothes were not examined in the initial report, but no gunpowder was discovered on his skin, indicating that he may not have been at close range to Wilson when he was shot. The report also indicated that Brown was facing Wilson during all shots fired. Autopsies were also scheduled to take place by officials in Ferguson as well as the Department of Justice.[4]

Reporters covering the events in Ferguson began to receive increased attention from the protesters as they attempted to cover the looting and destruction of property in the area. The reporters were strong armed and told not to film or photograph the looters' actions out of fear of being charged for crimes in the future.[5]

Violence continued on the evening of August 17, 2014, when peaceful daytime protesters turned markedly more violent after dark when molotov cocktails and gunshots were fired in the direction of the highway patrol officers. Officers responded by firing tear gas into the crowd. Three more reporters were temporarily placed under arrest at the direction of Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson.[6] Governor Jay Nixon responded on August 18, 2014, by ordering the National Guard to Ferguson to help restore order.[7]

With the National Guard in place, protests devolved into violence once again on August 18, 2014 into August 19, during which it was initially claimed 31 protesters were placed under arrest. Record obtained by local media outlets on August 19, confirmed there were actually 78 arrests.[8] Four police officers and two civilians were injured by gunfire from the protesters, police said. Of those arrested, some had come from as far as New York, California and Washington.[9] Prior to the protests on August 18, Johnson announced that journalists in the area would continue to be detained because of the violent nature of the protests. He stated that once taken into custody, journalists would be treated properly, including a prompt released, if called for, but explained, "in the midst of it, we cannot — in the midst of it, in the midst of chaos, and trying to move people on, we have to be safe. ... And we are providing protection for journalists. We had, we had a journalist who was trapped in the midst of that gunfire, in the midst of that chaos. And we're providing protection for them. We took journalists back to their trucks."[10]

On August 19, 2014, a civilian wielding a knife at officers was shot and killed nearly four miles from the ongoing protests in Ferguson. Police said the suspect was "acting erratically."[11]

Release of evidence

St. Louis County investigators announced on August 19, 2014, that evidence in the case would not be made public until it was presented to a grand jury, which would potentially take months. While the media and public have made calls for the evidence to be made public, United States Attorney Richard Callahan stated, "While the lack of details surrounding the shooting may frustrate the media and breed suspicion among those already distrustful of the system, those closely guarded details give law enforcement the best yardsticks for measuring whether witnesses are truthful." Attorney General Eric Holder re-iterated the need for patience in the investigation, explaining, "No matter how others pursue their own separate inquiries, the Justice Department is resolved to preserve the integrity of its investigation."[12]

The National Bar Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Ferguson in an effort to preserve all evidence of Brown's death, including officers' notes and all information collected from the scene of the crime. The suit was filed August 18, 2014.[13]

Ferguson's racial divide

In a New York Times op-ed, Jeff Smith pointed out several factors that may have contributed to the racial tension in Ferguson between the police force and the majority African American citizenry. Since the 1990 census, when the community was still a minority African American, the demographics have changed, with the 2000 census showing a slight African American majority and the 2010 census showing more than two-thirds of the population African American. Smith argued that due to the relatively recent migration to the suburb, the political structure for African Americans was not well-established, hence Ferguson's white, Republican mayor, majority white police force with three of 53 officers African American and one African American city council member. Combined with the fact that the municipality relies heavily on traffic stops for its funding, the result was 86 percent of traffic stops, 92 percent of searches and 93 percent of arrests being African Americans.[14]

Mayor James Knowles of Ferguson, MO
James Knowles (R), mayor of Ferguson since 2011, claimed there was no racial divide on August 15, 2014, arguing, "I grew up here, and it’s always been a very diverse community. So for people to come out and say that there’s some long-standing anger or there’s a history of racial tension is absolutely ridiculous. There’s not a black-white divide in Ferguson.”[15] Knowles defended his point in an interview on August 19, 2014, explaining, "There’s 22,000 residents in our community. This has affected about a half-mile strip of street in our community. The rest of the African-Americans in our community are going about their daily lives, going to our businesses, walking their dog, going to our neighborhood watch meetings."[16]

The residents of the area provided mixed opinions when questioned about whether race was an issue, with some questioning whether the protests were representative of the community or if the protests were made up of outside professional protesters. One resident disputed any long-standing racial tensions, stating, "I think the race relationships have always been good here. There’s no strife between the races. And I think these protests are going to damage that." He followed up, questioning the makeup of the protesters, asking, "I wonder, are these professional protesters or people who really live here in Ferguson?" Meanwhile, another resident explained, "Everyone knows the statistics. Ask anybody from the city. Don’t nobody come in from the city because they know this is one of the most racist places there is."[15]

Reactions

Obama administration

August 11, 2014

  • President Barack Obama urged "peace and calm" in Ferguson following days of unrest.
    Attorney General Eric Holder announced the shooting would be the center of a federal investigation, stating, "The federal investigation will supplement, rather than supplant, the inquiry by local authorities. At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right."[17]

August 14, 2014

  • President Barack Obama called for peace in Ferguson following the fourth day of rioting and protests in the streets, pleading, "Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson. Now is the time for an open and transparent process to make sure justice is done."[18] He also commented on the arrests of two journalists covering the story, "[H]ere in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who were just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground." He continued, "Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of high authority. Emotions are raw right now in Ferguson, and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened. There are going to be different accounts of how this tragedy occurred. There are going to be differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward."[19]
  • Holder released a statement explaining his concern for how the events in Ferguson were handled by authorities, stating, "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."[20]

August 18, 2014

  • President Obama met with Holder and decided to send Holder to Ferguson to look into the incident and ongoing problems. On the decision, he stated, "While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police, only deserves to raise tensions and stir chaos, it undermines, rather than advancing justice."[21]

August 19, 2014

  • The White House acknowledged that Obama did not rule out visiting Ferguson in the following weeks, but strategists warned him a visit would not be fruitful in the midst of the ongoing violence.[22]

Republicans

August 14, 2014

  • Responding to a letter written by the Congressional Black Caucus scrutinizing police treatment of African Americans, Sen. Steve King (R-IA) claimed, "It sounds like Lacy Clay is saying 'Don’t enforce the law.' This idea of no racial profiling, I've seen the video. It looks to me like you don't need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single, you know, of a single origin, I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that."[23]
  • Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) criticized the militarization of the police department's reaction to protests and riots, tweeting, "Is this a war zone or a US city? Gov't escalates tensions w/military equipment & tactics?"[24]
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
    Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wrote about the shooting in a Time editorial, stating that "it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them." He went on to explain, "Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies — where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement"[25]
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also weighed in on the shooting and following violent protests, stating, "Civil liberties must be protected, but violence is not the answer. Once the unrest is brought to an end, we should examine carefully what happened to ensure that justice is served." He also made a statement about the reporters who were arrested while covering the events, "Reporters should never be detained — a free press is too important — simply for doing their jobs."[26]
  • Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) defended the Defense Department program that allows police departments to buy military surplus items, but admitted that the program needed to be more limited. He explained, "In some cases, military equipment has a practical use. But there are limitations on the type of equipment, obviously. The idea that state and local police departments need tactical vehicles and MRAPs with gun turrets is excessive. Certain resources are designed and manufactured for a military mission—and it should stay that way. I don’t have a problem with the program overall, but I’m not comfortable with the idea that equipment designated for the battlefield could have a community application."[27]

August 18,2014

  • Former Rep. Ron Paul (R) called for an end to the Defense Department program, explaining, "Police are supposed to be local people, and they’re supposed to be peace officers. They’re not supposed to be warriors."[28]
  • Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke out about fellow politicians using the situation to gain support for their election or legislation, stating, "Don’t try to capitalize on this tragedy with your own policy initiatives, don’t try to link some prejudged conclusion on what’s happening on the ground right now. We should take a deep breath, let’s have some sympathy for the family and the community … and let’s let the investigation take its course and hope that justice is served appropriately."[29]

Democrats

August 11, 2014

  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) released a statement expressing her sadness and insisting, "I, like so many other Missourians, will not be satisfied until we have a complete and transparent understanding of all the facts and circumstances that led to this young man’s death."[30]

August 14, 2014

  • Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) expressed his thoughts on the events in Ferguson, stating, "This is a place where people work, go to school, raise their families and go to church. A diverse community. A Missouri community. But lately it’s looked a little bit more like a war zone and that’s unacceptable."[2]
  • Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who was a civil rights leader in the 1960s, called for President Obama to send in the National Guard and declare martial law in Ferguson:
    McCaskilltweetFerguson.png
My own feeling is right now is that President Obama should use the authority of his office to declare martial law, federalize the Missouri National Guard to protect people as they protest. People should come together—reasonable elected officials, community leaders—and address what is happening there. If you fail to act, the fires of frustration and discontent will continue to burn, not only in Ferguson, Missouri, but all across America.

[31]

—Rep. John Lewis giving an interview on MSNBC, [32]

  • Sen. McCaskill was photographed briefing Eric Holder from a tire shop in Ferguson.
  • Missouri state senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal took her anger to Twitter after being tear gassed while protesting in Ferguson, a part of her district. She tweeted at Governor Nixon, "You don't know sh*t bc you never communicate. F**K you, Governor!"[33][34]

August 15, 2014

  • Governor Nixon explained the decision to change the forces patrolling Ferguson to the highway patrol, stating, "As we saw the acceleration, both in the tone as well as in the armor, I knew it was time to make a change." He continued noting the situation escalated in part due to the heavy police presence, "Militarization caused exactly the opposite reaction, in my view, as to what it normally should,” he added. “Instead of bringing safety, it brought less safety in this situation, because people felt diminished and felt controlled in their own community."[35]

August 16, 2014

  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) stated his opposition to police militarization, claiming, "Having military style weaponry moving down the main street of a middle-American town is as un-American as a coup d’état rather than an election."[36]

August 17, 2014

  • Rev. Al Sharpton called for the federal government to take over the investigation into Brown's death and criticized the actions of local law enforcement, claiming, "This young man hadn’t even been buried. Then they come out and say [the incident] had nothing to do with the shooting. Then why did you put it out? I saw the tape of a young man who might be shoplifting. There’s a difference between robbing and shoplifting. This issue is not whether he shoplifted. The issue is about a young man with no due process who was shot multiple times."[7]
  • Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) explained his displeasure with the militarization of the Ferguson police department in their response to Brown's death, claiming, "A militarized police force facing down innocent protesters with sniper rifles and machine guns is totally unacceptable in America. Some of these police departments who have received this equipment have not been properly trained in its use by the military. So, that is a question that some of my colleagues in Congress have said that they are going to try to get answers to." New York City Police Department Chief Bernard Kerik, appearing on the same television talk show, defended the police tactics, claiming, "There were Molotov cocktails thrown. There was … property that was damaged. The police have to respond to that. You can't let the thugs take over the city."[37] On the same talk show, Clay called for more diverse police departments, stating about departments in largely African American communities, "They do not have enough diversity within their force; they do not have a healthy relationship with the African-American community that they are supposed to police," and called for a national examination of those scenarios.[38]
  • Governor Nixon announced on the ABC show "This Week," "All of us were thunderstruck by the pictures we saw, I mean, the overmilitarization, the MRAPs rolling in, the guns pointed at kids in the street. All of that I think instead of ratcheting down, brought emotion up."[39] He also appeared on "Face the Nation," where he claimed the release of information regarding Brown being a suspect in a robbery helped ignite violence, stating, "I think it had an incendiary effect. I mean, when you release a picture and you clearly are attempting to besmirch a victim of a shooting, shot down in his own street, a young man, and at the same time you’re releasing information to try to make it, to tarnish him, then properly, there was a lot of folks that were concerned about that, and I do think it flamed it back up and has caused us to have to deal with some of that." [40]

August 18, 2014

  • Governor Nixon canceled the curfew in Ferguson following calls from the NAACP, ACLU and others. Nixon cited the added security of the National Guard in his decision, claiming, "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."[41] The curfew was re-instated following violence on the night of August 18, into the morning of August 19.[9]

August 19, 2014

  • Missouri Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) commenting on President Obama's decision to send Eric Holder to Ferguson, "I don’t think the president needs to come to Ferguson. It adds another distortion. We don’t need that now. We don’t need any more people coming into Ferguson to help the poor people out during this time of trouble. What we need is a sense of calm and anything other than that is going to be dangerous."[42]
  • Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) raised questions as to the makeup of the protesting crowd, stating, "The protesters have now been invaded, and embedded among them are a group of instigators, some coming from other states, that want a confrontation with the police." She also reiterated that it would not be a good time for President Obama to visit Ferguson for "practical reasons."[43]

Non-governmental organization reactions

August 12, 2014

  • Cornell William Brooks, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), called on the Ferguson Police Department to release the name of the officer who shot Brown, claiming, "It seems to me that the most important thing here is to let the facts come out as quickly as possible, sending a signal to the community that the investigation is proceeding and that the investigation will in fact be transparent. I don’t believe, where the name will be known at some point, delaying that for any undue period of time helps the situation."[44]

August 15, 2014

  • Forty-eight media organizations called on the Ferguson police department for increased transparency and lighter tactics in a letter written to the department. The letter stated, "As organizations that cover news and defend the rights of journalists to gather the news, we write to express our deep concern over the unwarranted detention of two journalists on Wednesday and with other reports of police intimidation and harassment of journalists in Ferguson," the letter states. "It is also extremely troubling that the police have not been more timely in releasing the records surrounding these incidents and the shooting of Michael Brown.[45]

August 17, 2014

  • The NAACP, ACLU and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law called for Governor Nixon's curfew in Ferguson to end, arguing, "Any order restricting constitutional rights must clearly communicate to the public when and where it will apply, articulate valid justifications for the restrictions, and provide ample alternative locations where people may gather to express their views on the important issues being discussed in Ferguson."[46] Governor Nixon canceled the curfew for the following day.[41]

August 18, 2014

  • The mother of Michael Brown, Lesley McSpadden, argued that Officer Wilson should have been arrested for shooting her son, claiming that the only way justice could be done would be "[a]rresting this man and making him accountable for his actions."[47]

Possible ramifications

Holder's Ferguson visit

On August 18, 2014, President Obama met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and decided to send Holder to Ferguson to look into the incident and ongoing problems. On the decision, he stated, "While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police, only deserves to raise tensions and stir chaos, it undermines, rather than advancing justice."[21] Called on to join Holder for the trip to Ferguson were Missouri Senators Roy Blunt (R) and Claire McCaskill (D), both of whom expressed their pleasure in having Holder see the situation first hand and the department's assistance in the investigation already underway, although Blunt made clear his opposition to the idea of federal investigators taking over the case from state investigators, if it were to be proposed.[48]

Online petition to Obama

An online petition aimed at the demilitarization of police departments called for Obama to stop the program allowing police departments to purchase military supplies. As of August 18, 2014, the petition had 26,000 signatures and argued, "The Pentagon is encouraging local police forces to feel as if they are going into battle — with a clear enemy and a shoot-to-kill mentality. This national militarization of police must be stopped immediately."[49]

National Guard in Ferguson

Governor Jay Nixon called the National Guard to Ferguson on August 18, 2014, citing the need to bring back "peace and order to this community." According to a White House official, the administration did not know beforehand that Nixon was calling up the National Guard, stating, "Folks didn’t know. The White House did not know they were sending it in."[50]

Legislative action

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) wrote a letter to members of Congress notifying them of a bill he was drafting aimed toward demilitarizing local police departments. On August 14, 2014, he wrote, "Our main streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s. Unfortunately, due to a Department of Defense (DOD) Program that transfers surplus DOD equipment to state and local law enforcement, our local police are quickly beginning to resemble paramilitary forces." He called the bill the "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act," looking to end the Defense Department program that allowed local law enforcement agencies access to military surplus items.[51]

Congressional Black Caucus hearings

On August 14, 2014, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) called for hearings into the Brown shooting as well as other African American youth killed by police around the country. In a letter to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-WV), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, members of the CBC wrote, "These incidents raise concerns that local law enforcement is out of control and, instead of protecting the safety and civil liberties of the residents of Ferguson, is employing tactics that violate the rights of citizens and hinder the ability of the press to report on their actions. This situation requires immediate congressional scrutiny."[52]

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), a member of the CBC, praised the move of having the Highway Patrol take over security in Ferguson on August 14, 2014, saying it "greatly improved a horrible situation." He hoped the overall event would become a "turning point" in race relations with police across the country, stating, "We need police forces that reflect the communities they serve, we need to address the stereotypes associated with young men of color, and we need to find ways to prevent unnecessary escalations in situations like these. This case has the potential to be a turning point, and we must learn from it."[53]

Police de-militarization calls

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), various conservative organizations and Sen. Rand Paul among other members of Congress called for an end to a Defense Department program that allowed police departments to purchase discounted military surplus items including armored vehicles and automatic weapons. An ACLU spokesperson stated, "What we're seeing today in Ferguson is a reflection of the excessive militarization of police that has been happening in towns across America for decades." According to the Defense Logistics Agency, over $4 billion worth of surplus items have been purchased by local police departments since the 1990s.[54]

The director of the Fraternal Order of Police defended the program, claiming it helped local departments keep up with criminals. He argued, "All police are doing is taking advantage of the advances of technology in terms of surveillance, in terms of communication and in terms of protective equipment that are available to criminals on the street."[54]

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) drafted a bill that would place limitations on the Defense Department program, which he said would be introduced to the House following the August recess. He explained, "Our main streets should be a place for business, families, and relaxation, not tanks and M16s."[55]

DOJ probe

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced on August 11, 2014, that the Department of Justice (DoJ) would open a probe into the police shooting of Brown, noting it would, "supplement, rather than supplant, the inquiry by local authorities. At every step, we will work with the local investigators, who should be prepared to complete a thorough, fair investigation in their own right."[56] Three Democratic representatives, John Conyers (D-MI), William Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), came forward on August 12, 2014, asking for a more expansive probe covering the "potential for any pattern or practice of police misconduct." Their letter, written to Holder, explained, "We applaud the Department of Justice’s decision to investigate the shooting of Michael Brown but hope that you will consider expanding the scope of federal involvement and ask that the Department dedicate sufficient resources to investigate the legal and civil rights ramifications of the shooting and surrounding circumstances."[57]

FAA no-fly zone

The Federal Aviation Administration established a no-fly zone over Ferguson, Missouri, on August 12, 2014, to "to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities." Per the order, no aircraft were to fly under 3,000 feet in the crime scene area. The FAA took similar measures in the government standoff with Cliven Bundy as well as the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.[58] The no-fly zone designation, initially set to expire on August 18, 2014, was extended to August 25, 2014 amid continuing violence.

Recent news

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Ferguson, Missouri Riots News Feed

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See also

References

  1. CNN, "Gunshots, tear gas in Missouri town where police shot teen," August 12, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Politico, "A new day in Ferguson," August 14, 2014
  3. The Hill, "Police identify shooter in Ferguson," August 15, 2014
  4. New York Times, "Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck at Least 6 Times," August 17, 2014
  5. Politico, "Ferguson rioters harass, threaten reporters," August 16, 2014
  6. The Washington Post, "Police in Ferguson arrest and threaten more journalists," August 18, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Washington Post, "National Guard sent to Ferguson after violent unrest erupts," August 18, 2014
  8. The Guardian, "Ferguson officials call for calm overnight after 78 people arrested," August 19, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Reuters, "Police come under gunfire, arrest 31 in Missouri racial unrest," August 19, 2014
  10. Politico, "Ferguson police will keep arresting reporters," August 19, 2014
  11. The Guardian, "Police shoot dead another man in St Louis area," August 19, 2014
  12. The Hill, "Details on shooting may be withheld for weeks," August 19, 2014
  13. Bloomberg, "Ferguson Sued by National Bar Association Over Brown Documents," August 18, 2014
  14. New York Times, "In Ferguson, Black Town, White Power," August 17, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 BuzzFeed, "Is Race An Issue In Ferguson? Depends On Whom You Ask," August 15, 2014
  16. Politico, "Ferguson mayor: 'No racial divide'," August 19, 2014
  17. Politico, "Holder vows Michael Brown ‘fulsome review’," August 11, 2014
  18. The Hill, "Obama calls for calm after ‘disturbing’ events in Ferguson," August 14, 2014
  19. Politico, "Obama: Police shouldn't bully press," August 14, 2014
  20. Politico, "Eric Holder ‘concerned’ over Ferguson," August 14, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 The Hill, "Obama sends Holder to Ferguson," August 18, 2014
  22. The Hill, "White House hasn’t ruled out sending Obama to Ferguson," August 19, 2014
  23. The Hill, "GOP Rep. Steve King: Ferguson protesters have same 'continental origin'," August 14, 2014
  24. The Hill, "Ferguson: 'War zone or US city?'," August 14, 2014
  25. Politico, "Rand Paul’s race moment," August 15, 2014
  26. Politico, "Rand Paul, Ted Cruz weigh in on Ferguson," August 14, 2014
  27. Politico, "Critics slam ‘militarization’ of police," August 14, 2014
  28. Politico, "Ron Paul: Local police not 'warriors'," August 18, 2014
  29. Politico, "Paul Ryan: ‘Deep breath’ on Ferguson," August 18, 2014
  30. Politico, "Claire McCaskill, Roy Blunt weigh in on Michael Brown," August 11, 2014
  31. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  32. Newsweek, "Rep. John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon, Calls for ‘Martial Law’ in Ferguson, Mo.," August 15, 2014
  33. [The language of this tweet was edited by Ballotpedia for profanity.]
  34. Huffington Post, "'F*ck You' To Governor Jay Nixon Over Ferguson," August 14, 2014
  35. Politico, "Jay Nixon: ‘It was a tough week’," August 15, 2014
  36. Fox 4 KC, "Congressman Emanuel Cleaver visits Kansas City, shares thoughts on Ferguson," August 16, 2014
  37. The Hill, "Ferguson rep: Response 'unacceptable'," August 17, 2014
  38. Politico, "Clay urges police diversity," August 17, 2014
  39. Politico, "Gov. Nixon: 'Thunderstruck' by 'overmilitarization' in Ferguson," August 17, 2014
  40. Politico, "Gov. Nixon says Brown 'besmirched' by police," August 17, 2014
  41. 41.0 41.1 The Hill, "Mo. governor lifts Ferguson curfew," August 18, 2014
  42. Politico, "Emanuel Cleaver: Ferguson looks like Fallujah," August 19, 2014
  43. Politico, "McCaskill: Protests were 'invaded'," August 19, 2014
  44. U.S. News and World Reports, "NAACP to Cops: Identify Michael Brown Shooter," August 12, 2014
  45. Politico, "Media orgs condemn Ferguson police," August 15, 2014
  46. BuzzFeed, "ACLU, NAACP Condemn Missouri Governor’s Curfew In Ferguson," August 17, 2014
  47. The Hill, "Michael Brown's mother calls for officer's arrest," August 18, 2014
  48. Politico, "Missouri senators to join Eric Holder," August 18, 2014
  49. The Hill, "Online petition urges Obama to ‘demilitarize’," August 18, 2014
  50. BuzzFeed, "White House “Did Not Know” National Guard Was Being Deployed In Ferguson," August 18, 2014
  51. Politico, "Dem pushes Ferguson machine gun bill," August 14, 2014
  52. The Hill, "Black Caucus members call for hearings on Ferguson shooting," August 14, 2014
  53. The Hill, "Black Caucus member: Ferguson turmoil could be 'turning point'," August 15, 2014
  54. 54.0 54.1 The Hill, "Congress under pressure from left and right to 'demilitarize' police," August 15, 2014
  55. The Hill, "Lawmaker drafting bill to demilitarize local police," August 14, 2014
  56. Politico, "Eric Holder vows Michael Brown ‘fulsome review’," August 11, 2014
  57. Politico, "Reps: Larger DOJ probe in Ferguson," August 12, 2014
  58. Politico, "FAA sets no-fly zone over Ferguson," August 12, 2014