Friday 21 November 2014

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declares state of emergency over riots

Published 16/08/2014 | 21:45

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (C) addresses the media
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (C) addresses the media

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson on Saturday following a week-long series of racially charged protests and looting over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

A curfew will be put in place starting at midnight and run until 5 a.m., according to Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who the governor appointed to oversee security in the suburban St. Louis community that has been roiled by the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

President Barack Obama made a plea for calm as small groups of troopers replaced local officers the day after about 50 in military-style gear pointed guns at angry demonstrators.

Police had claimed that Michael Brown (18), inset, was shot by police officer Darren Wilson after a fight over his weapon.

Residents said Brown was shot while raising his hands in surrender.

Governor Nixon said the new policing operation would be led by Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who is black.

"We all have been concerned about the vision that the world has seen about this region," Nixon, a Democrat, said yesterday.

"We're all about making sure that we allow peaceful and appropriate protests."

Ferguson Police Department yesterday showed reporters still images taken from a security camera.

Authorities named Darren Wilson as the police officer who killed teenager Michael Brown at the weekend, saying the officer had a good record and the incident came in the aftermath of a robbery of a local store in which the teen was a suspect.

Yesterday, US Representative William Lacy Clay, a Democrat from St. Louis, urged the Attorney General Eric Holder to "take over the entire situation because we will not get justice for Michael Brown and his family and friends if the St. Louis County police and prosecutor have a say."

President Obama promised a full and independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting.

"I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by images we've seen in the heartland of our country," Mr Obama said.

"Now's the time for healing," he said. "Now's the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson. Now's the time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done."

The FBI opened an investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown on August 11.

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