Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has called out the National Guard to deal with increasingly violent and organized rioting in Ferguson, Missouri.
In an announcement posted on his official website last night, Nixon said, “I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning this criminal activity that included firing upon law enforcement officers, shooting a civilian, throwing Molotov cocktails, looting, and a coordinated attempt to block roads and overrun the Unified Command Center.”
“Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson,” Nixon added, “I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard to assist Colonel Ron Replogle and the Unified Command in restoring peace and order to this community.”
Nixon also asserted that the rioters included a “growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state.” Demonstrators have been protesting, both peacefully and violently, the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot several times by a police officer last week.
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Nixon’s action followed a statement by Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, commander of the local and state police forces in Ferguson, announcing the need to “elevate” police presence in response to the sharp increase in violence last night.
Speaking at a 2:00 a.m. Eastern time press conference, Johnson said shots were fired and Molotov cocktails thrown at police officers in an apparently coordinated campaign by rioters to assault the police command center in a shopping center in Ferguson.
Noting that downtown stores were being looted and destroyed, and a “makeshift barricade” had been erected by the rioters, Johnson said “We had to act” to protect citizens and businesses. Police dispersed the rioters with tear gas. The town was placed under curfew until 5:00 a.m. local time.
“Given the circumstances, I had no alternative but to elevate the level of our response,” said Johnson, who summoned additional county and state police officers to reinforce the policemen already facing the rioters in Ferguson yesterday evening.
Nixon’s announcement calling out the National Guard was posted about an hour after the end of Johnson’s press conference.
Last night’s dramatically increased violence came after news broke late last week that Brown, reportedly a 6’4,” 290-lb giant, had committed a “strong-arm” robbery at a convenience store just minutes before being confronted by an officer driving a police vehicle.
According to news reports last week, the officer was on his way to investigate the robbery when he came across Brown walking down the middle of the street, and ordered him to move to the sidewalk. It is unknown whether the officer knew at the time that Brown was a suspect in the robbery. Police have accused Brown of attempting to seize the officer’s sidearm and injuring the officer’s face during an altercation that preceded the fatal shooting.
The revelation of the robbery contradicted the “narrative” promoted by leftist activists and news media that Brown was an innocent, upstanding young black man victimized by a racist police officer. It also raised the possibility that Brown assaulted the officer in order to avoid arrest.
An autopsy requested by Brown’s family reportedly revealed yesterday that Brown was shot at least six times, including four shots in the right arm and two in the head. He was not shot in the back, as asserted by witness Dorian Johnson after the shooting. The fatal shot apparently entered the top of Brown’s head. Security camera footage of the robbery, during which Brown roughed up a clerk at a local convenience store, reportedly shows that Brown was accompanied by Johnson.
County officials also plan to conduct an autopsy of Brown’s body, as does the FBI, reportedly at the request of Attorney General Eric Holder.
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