Missouri Governor Declares State of Emergency While the Country Anticipates the Grand Jury's Decision in Ferguson

By Julissa Catalan


Missouri is declared in a state of emergency just as Darren Wilson’s future could be decided any day now. Meanwhile newly released footage adds some perspective to the timeline of the events that took place on Aug. 9, resulting in the fatal shooting of Black unarmed teen Michael Brown.

Governor Jay Nixon issued an executive order to declare Missouri in a state of emergency on Monday. The order—which is to stay in place for 30 days—directs police to “protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the city of Ferguson and the St. Louis region.”

“Regardless of the outcomes of the federal and state criminal investigations, there is the possibility of expanded unrest,” the order said. “Our citizens and businesses must be protected from violence and damage.”

The governor has enlisted the National Guard, the St. Louis County Police Department, the Missouri Highway Patrol and the city’s Metro Police.

The order states:

WHEREAS, the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region have experienced periods of unrest over the past three months; and

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice and St. Louis County authorities are conducting separate criminal investigations into the facts surrounding the death of Michael Brown; and

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice and St. Louis County authorities could soon announce the findings of their independent criminal investigations; and

WHEREAS, regardless of the outcomes of the federal and state criminal investigations, there is the possibility of expanded unrest; and

WHEREAS, the State of Missouri will be prepared to appropriately respond to any reaction to these announcements; and

WHEREAS, our citizens have the right to peacefully assemble and protest and the State of Missouri is committed to protecting those rights; and

WHEREAS, our citizens and businesses must be protected from violence and damage; and

WHEREAS, an invocation of the provisions of Sections 44.010 through 44.130, RSMo, is appropriate to ensure the safety and welfare of our citizens.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JEREMIAH W. (JAY) NIXON, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the State of Missouri, including Sections 44.010 through 44.130, RSMo, do hereby declare a State of Emergency exists in the State of Missouri.

I further direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region.

I further order that the St. Louis County Police Department shall have command and operational control over security in the City of Ferguson relating to areas of protests, acts of civil disobedience and conduct otherwise arising from such activities.

I further order that the Unified Command may exercise operational authority in such other jurisdictions it deems necessary to protect civil rights and ensure public safety and that other law enforcement agencies shall assist the Unified Command when so requested and shall cooperate with operational directives of the Unified Command.

I further order, pursuant to Section 41.480, RSMo, the Adjutant General of the State of Missouri, or his designee, to forthwith call and order into active service such portions of the organized militia as he deems necessary to protect life and property and assist civilian authorities and it is further directed that the Adjutant General or his designee, and through him, the commanding officer of any unit or other organization of such organized militia so called into active service take such action and employ such equipment as may be necessary to carry out requests processed through the Missouri State Highway Patrol and ordered by the Governor of the state to protect life and property and support civilian authorities.

This Order shall expire in thirty days unless extended in whole or in part by subsequent Executive Order.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 17th day of November, 2014.

This is the second state of emergency Dixon has placed in order since Brown’s shooting—the first being in the midst of the protests that followed.

This declaration came shortly after video footage pertaining to the case was released.

The EMS records, 911 calls, police and dispatcher radio conversations leading up to the interaction were obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and can be heard here.

The audio recordings document how quickly the situation between Wilson and Brown escalated—90 seconds.

Meanwhile, police-station surveillance videos following the shooting were also released today.

Wilson leaving for the hospital hours after the shooting:

Wilson returning to the police station two hours later:

While Wilson reportedly told authorities that he initially stopped Brown for walking in the middle of the street, then realized Brown matched the description of a convenience-store-robbery suspect, the recordings show that Wilson did not make that connection.

This new information contradicts what Police Chief Tom Jackson has repeatedly told media—that Wilson did not know Brown was a suspect in the convenience-store robbery and that the interaction happened solely because Brown was walking in the street.

Brown family attorneys Benjamin Crump, Anthony Gray and Daryl Parks criticized the police in a statement, saying these recordings help to discredit Wilson’s story.

“The audio clearly demonstrates that the initial interaction with the officer and Brown had nothing to do with the incident at the convenience store. The remaining portions of the audiotape did not establish any connection with the convenience-store incident,” the statement reads.

“From the very beginning, the Ferguson Police Department has followed what is now seemingly standard operating procedure for police departments around the country: to vilify the victim and put the shooter on a pedestal.”

Crump also pointed to a closeup of Wilson on the police-station surveillance footage.

While the officer maintains that he had a physical altercation with Brown—resulting in a broken eye socket—Crump says the video proves that Wilson’s face does not appear swollen nor bruised.

This was also a claim that Police Chief Jackson publicly backed up.

“Information was leaked from within the police department that Wilson was severely beaten and suffered an orbital eye socket ‘blowout,’ indicating that Michael Brown somehow deserved to die. From the video released today it would appear the initial descriptions of his injuries were exaggerated,” Crump said.

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