Today in a press conference, Missouri governor Jay Nixon and Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson declared a state of emergency in Ferguson. They also announced that they will be instating a curfew from midnight until 5 a.m. Tonight is the first night the curfew will be in place, and in the press conference, community leaders expressed concern that the curfew couldn't be enforced without using force.
"In the morning this community will rise with the sun to renew its quest for justice," Nixon said." We won't enforce it with trucks, we wont enforce it with tear gas. We will communicate, ‘it's time to go home.'"
The protests surrounding Michael Brown's shooting continued to rage in Ferguson, Missouri and led to small outbreaks of looting and robbing last night (August 15). Although the previous 24 hours had been peaceful in Ferguson following the replacement of the local police force with the Missouri highway patrol, tensions again ran high last night, which prompted the decision to declare a state of emergency.
Following yesterday's release of the name Darren Wilson as the confirmed identity of the officer who shot Michael Brown, police Chief Thomas Jackson disclosed that Brown was a suspect in a convenience store robbery that took place just prior to his death.
Jackson's decision to name Brown as a robbery suspect was met with immense backlash, and The New York Times is now reporting that the Justice Department did not support the Ferguson police department's decision to release the video that allegedly shows Brown robbing a convenience store. The Missouri highway patrol also criticized the decision to release the video, in a rare showing of law enforcement disagreement.
Many questioned what the motivations were behind releasing this information, and Brown's family also joined in expressing their outrage at the allegations, citing it as an example to tarnish their son's reputation.
Though the riot gear and tear gas had disappeared with the arrival of the Missouri highway patrol, it briefly reappeared last night. Captain Johnson asserted that three officers were unsafe and trapped, and that armored cars were used to return those officers to safety. He said one canister of tear gas was deployed.
We will continue to update this story as it unfolds. Watch a clip of the governor and Captain Johnson address the issue of the curfew courtesy of NBC News.
+ What is happening in Ferguson has drummed up a lot of talk about racial bias. If you have an idea for a digital tool that would help you and your friends have productive conversations about bias, you should take part in Look Different’s Challenge. There’s $10k prize at stake.
+ Get educated and check out Look Different’s Implicit Bias Quiz. It’s important to know exactly why we are talking about Ferguson, and that might mean examining our own hidden biases.
+ Take the conversation offline. Talk with your friends about their feelings about what is happening in Ferguson, and the shooting of Mike Brown. Use this as an opportunity to connect and learn from each other.