As the situation in Ferguson enters it sixth day of unrest and violence in the wake of the August 9 shooting of teen Michael Brown, Bloomberg reports that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a 58-year-old Democrat, announced Thursday that he would be relieving the St. Louis County law enforcement of their duty in Ferguson.
Bloomberg learned of the decision during a telephone interview with William Lacy Clay, a Democrat representative for the state. Representative Clay told Bloomberg that the governor had called him, and that the governor was on his way to the city to relieve the police. He also added that Nixon may ask the FBI to step in and investigate.
Nixon isn’t the only one who’s looking to the Feds for help; Representative Clay has been urging United States 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.”
Derek Wallbank, a reporter for Bloomberg, Tweeted the news here:
— Derek Wallbank (@dwallbank) August 14, 2014
While President Obama has been briefed on the shooting and has held several staffings with members from various positions in government, Clay said that federal and state authorities waited too long to take control of the situation:
They are relying on the St. Louis County authorities to do the right thing. Now the governor realizes that they’re not going to do the right thing.
Really? The Thin Blue Line, not doing the right thing? Color me shocked.
In the early morning hours of Thursday, a group of more than 50 officers with full protective gear drove three black armored vehicles into the Ferguson police department, threatening protesters with guns and with arrest.
Kyra Rayford, a resident of the city who had been protesting the police, called it “police terrorism:”
“This is police terrorism at its finest,” said Kyra Rayford, a 24-year-old from St. Louis who was waving a sign across the street from the police department. “They’ve been using unnecessary aggression and force. They’re violating our civil rights.”
The police have been intimidating the media, too, detaining reporters from the Huffington Post and Washington Post. Marty Baron, the executive editor of the Washington Post, said that he was “appalled” at the treatment of the reporters. In a statement, Baron said that “there was absolutely no justification for [Lowery’s] arrest.”
Nixon canceled a trip to the state fair so he could head to Ferguson. In a statement, Nixon urged the police and residents to refrain from violence:
The worsening situation in Ferguson is deeply troubling, and does not represent who we are as Missourians or as Americans. While we all respect the solemn responsibility of our law enforcement officers to protect the public, we must also safeguard the rights of Missourians to peaceably assemble and the rights of the press to report on matters of public concern.
A total of 10 people, including St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, and Huffington Post writer Ryan Reilly, were arrested on Wednesday. When a LA Times reporter called Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson to tell him about the journalists’ arrest, the police chief explained that he’d told the officer to release the reporters. Before the latest round of skirmishes broke out, Missouri state Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal confronted Jackson during a press conference, demanding to know if she was going to be “gassed again,” like she had been “on Monday night:”
We couldn’t get out, and we were peacefully sitting. I just wanted to know if I’m going to be gassed again?
“I hope not.”
Sounds like he’s got a firm handle on the situation, doesn’t it?
h/t Daily Kos