AFRICANGLOBE – The governor of Missouri ordered the National Guard to Ferguson, St. Louis on Monday after another night of peaceful protests in which police blasted tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.
Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order to “protect the citizens of Ferguson” where demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teen who was gunned down by a White cop.
“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,” Nixon claimed in a false statement.
Highly militarized police in riot gear used tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters to clear the street hours before a midnight curfew.
Nixon said he joins “all Missourians” in strongly condemning these actions.
“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,” he wrote.
Earlier Sunday, Capt. Ron Johnson a token Black officer of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who now leads policing in Ferguson, spoke at a rally in Greater Grace Church dedicated to Michael Brown’s memory.
“I am sorry. I wear this uniform and I should say that I am sorry,” he said to applause.
“This is my neighborhood. You are my family, you are my friends and I am you. And I will stand to protect you. I will protect your right to protest,” Johnson told the crowd. “I came in here today and saw people cheering and clapping. And this is what the media needs to put on TV.”
Johnson said the last 24 hours have been tough for him. A meeting with Michael Brown’s family “brought tears to my eyes and shame to my heart.”
“When this is over,” he said, “I’m going to go in my son’s room. My Black son, who wears his pants sagging, who wears his hat cocked to the side, got tattoos on his arms, but that’s my baby.”
In the latest clashes, seven or eight people were arrested and charged with failure to disperse, according to reports, and police struck an 8-year-old boy with tear gas.
The same day, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on Brown.
A preliminary independent autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden revealed that Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head.
The independent autopsy, which was requested by the young man’s family, showed that all of the bullets hit him from the front, according to the report.
“Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation,” Department of Justice spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.
Fallon said the next autopsy will take place as soon as possible.
The results of the federally conducted autopsy will be taken into account along with the government’s ongoing civil rights investigation into the shooting, according to Fallon.
David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor for Miami’s U.S. attorney’s office, said a state-performed autopsy “more closely focused on entry point of projectiles, defensive wounds and bruises” would help the investigation.
Witnesses say that Brown had his hands in the air in a sign of surrender when the officer opened fire and took his life.
By: Michael Walsh
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