Unrest continues to roil the streets of Ferguson, Mo., where protests during the day have given way to tense confrontations most nights since Michael Brown was shot and killed. Here are the latest updates on what is happening in Ferguson.
Crowds gathered in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., on Tuesday night as protests of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager continued.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who penned an op-ed for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is scheduled to arrive in Missouri on Wednesday, and a grand jury is set to hear evidence in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was killed by police officer Darren Wilson earlier this month.
There’s still some confusion surrounding Monday’s arrests. The Post’s Mark Berman helped clarify some details on Twitter:
One last note — 38 of the 52 people arrested were from the St. Louis area. Which means 73% of the people arrested were from the region
— Mark Berman (@themarkberman) August 20, 2014
FBI Director James Comey addressed the agency’s investigation into Michael Brown’s death during a visit to Salt Lake City on Tuesday. “I have put a lot of people on it, to make sure that we gather the facts in an impartial, careful and expeditious way,” Comey said.
The streets of Ferguson were calm when St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar was spotted walking on West Florissant Avenue early Tuesday evening.
Would that the rest of the night be so peaceful.
“I think at this point we’re lucky — incredibly lucky — that we have not had demonstrators or an officer seriously injured,” Belmar said. “Because that’s the way things have been heading.”
He added: “At some point every night, it’s like a switch is flipped. Sometimes, a rock gets thrown. An unruly march. A molotov cocktail.”
Notably, Belmar credited these tipping points to the demonstrators only.
– Chico Harlan
[This post has been updated.]
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) on Tuesday told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he wouldn’t ask St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch to recuse himself yet, unless McColloch felt “for a myriad of reasons, that he and his office should step aside.”
“There are clearly a lot of folks calling for that,” Nixon told the newspaper.
He also noted: “You have a democratically elected prosecutor,” and later put out a statement calling for a “vigorous prosecution.”
“I am not asking St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough [sic] to recuse himself from this case,” Nixon said in a separate statement. “There is a well-established process by which a prosecutor can recuse themselves from a pending investigation, and a special prosecutor be appointed. Departing from this established process could unnecessarily inject legal uncertainty into this matter and potentially jeopardize the prosecution.”
McCulloch, whose objectivity in the Brown case has been called into question, has said he would step aside if Nixon asked, according to reports.
“That’s his call. But otherwise, Mr. McCulloch is going to continue to do his duties,” said Edward Magee, McCulloch’s executive assistant, told St. Louis Public Radio.
The Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver a eulogy at funeral services for 18-year-old Michael Brown next week, according to a statement from the National Action Network.
Some of Brown’s family members are also expected to speak at the Monday morning services in St. Louis, though a complete program was not released Tuesday evening.
Sharpton also spoke at a Sunday event for Brown, telling hundreds who had gathered at Greater Grace Church that “Michael Brown is going to change this town,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“I want you to know these parents are not going to cry alone, they’re not going to stand alone,” Sharpton said, according to the Post-Dispatch. “We’ve had enough.”
National Action Network is Sharpton’s civil rights organization, which he founded in 1991.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who is visiting Ferguson on Wednesday, has written an editorial aimed at people in the region.
Holder calls for calm and patience following the days of tension that have roiled the region and captured the nation’s attention.
He said that the Justice Department would defend the rights of protesters as well as the media, while also writing that “violence cannot be condoned” and asking for those peacefully protesting to condemn looters or vandals in Ferguson.
Head to Post Nation for more.
The Post’s Dan Lamothe on Tuesday spoke with the Pentagon’s top spokesman, who defended a program that supplies local U.S. police departments with military equipment.
“I want to make sure that it’s clear that this isn’t some program run amok here, or that there isn’t proper accountability,” Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said. “There is. And it’s well thought-out.”
President Obama left the door open on Monday to reexamining federal programs that fund and equip local police departments, raising questions whether the 1033 Program could eventually be altered. But Kirby said Tuesday that while Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has asked his staff for more information on it, he has not ordered a review of it.
Kirby said Tuesday that “there’s a lot of due diligence” that goes into deciding which police forces get which equipment. The Pentagon doesn’t push its excess equipment on police either, he said.
“I won’t speak for law enforcement. But my hunch is that many of these agencies out there would tell you that some of this equipment saves lives and protects citizens,” Kirby said. “And so while we’re all focused on what’s going on in Ferguson — as we should be, and I understand that — let’s be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater here. And it’s a congressionally-mandated program, a program that has provided a good measure of support to not just law enforcement, but to citizens all over the country.”
Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) is expected to meet with Hagel about the program, following complaints about heavily armed police forces like those that have been seen during protests in Ferguson, Mo., this month.
The Missouri National Guard said Tuesday it “successfully carried out” its mission of protecting the law enforcement command center in Ferguson last night, promising to do the same thing on Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning.
The reaction to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown stems from a overall “lack of confidence that the government can respond adequately to challenges,” said Rushern L. Baker III, the Prince George’s County executive and president of the County Executives of America. Head here for more.
Prosecutors plan to begin presenting evidence in the shooting death of Michael Brown to a grand jury Wednesday morning, the county prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.
“We know this is of interest to a lot of people around the country,” Edward Magee, spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, told The Washington Post. “We’re going to do this fairly and also attempt to do it in a timely manner.”
Carol D. Leonnig has more at Post Nation.
Police officers from the city of St. Louis fatally shot a man who was brandishing a knife and acting erratically outside of a liquor store on Tuesday afternoon, according to police officials.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the fatal shooting took place near Six Stars Market, a few miles from the street where black teen Michael Brown was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.
Two officers responding to a call approached the man — who has not yet been identified — and ordered him to drop his knife, said Sam Dotson, the city’s police chief.
The man appeared agitated, Dotson said, yelling: “Kill me now.” The officers, he said, “feared for their safety and both officers fired their weapons.”
Today @SLMPD officers received a call for a subject who appeared agitated & was armed with a knife. Suspect yelled kill me now & approached.
— Chief Sam Dotson (@ChiefSLMPD) August 19, 2014
Officers gave suspect verbal commands. Officers feared for their safety and both officers fired their weapons. Suspect is deceased. — Chief Sam Dotson (@ChiefSLMPD) August 19, 2014
Dotson said that the officers have been placed on administrative duty.
— Nichole Berlie KSDK (@NicholeBerlie) August 19, 2014
According to the Post-Dispatch:
There was a large police presence in the area after the shooting. About 150 bystanders were milling about the area, and some were chanting “hands up, don’t shoot,” a common refrain at the Ferguson shooting protests.
St. Louis police shot and critically wounded a man who, they say, pointed a gun at officers in the city early Wednesday.
A funeral for Michael Brown will be held on Monday, Aug. 25 — more than two weeks after Brown was killed — a spokesman for the family confirmed.
The location and time has not been determined, but the family’s attorney Anthony Gray told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that organizers are searching for a location that will be large enough to accommodate the public for a memorial service.
“It’s going to be public and it’s going to be supported by national leaders,” Gray said, according to the Post-Dispatch. “We don’t have details on who those national leaders will be at this time.”
On Tuesday morning, Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, another unarmed black teen whose shooting death sparked protests around the country, urged Brown’s parents to bury their son sooner rather than later.
“They need to have a proper and decent home going for their son. I think we’re getting off track with a lot of things, but he needs to be buried, and he needs to be laid to rest,” said Fulton said on CNN. “That is going to be a very difficult moment for them, and I don’t want them to take that lightly.”
“Its going to be very hurtful its going to be very sorrowful, its going to be very disappointing to know that they are burying their 18-year-old son, and he had a full life ahead of him.”
As turmoil continues to engulf Ferguson, Mo., the city issued a statement Tuesday again asking residents to remain home at night.
“It is our hope that as we continue to work for the wellbeing of Ferguson, residents will stay home at night, allow peace to settle in, and allow for the justice process to take its course,” said the statement, which was unsigned but attributed to city leadership.
Head to Post Nation for more.
— The Daily Rupert (@TheMurdochTimes) August 19, 2014
The jaw-dropping David Carson photo that leads the front page of Tuesday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch was taken during a ride-along with the St. Louis County Police tactical team.
Carson — who also took the stunning tear-gas photo that was on Thursday’s front page (see below) — was with the police Monday night and early Tuesday as they responded to protests. “Members of the tactical [team] had glass bottles thrown at them, were stuck with rocks, and were fired at with guns before they deployed the tear gas against the protesters,” according to the Post-Dispatch.
A gallery of Carson’s photos of the tactical team at work is here.
It could be a matter of weeks or months before details of the investigation are presented to a grand jury in St. Louis County, Richard A. Callahan, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, told Time.
He cautioned that the lack of information made public in this case — which has frustrated many in Ferguson and beyond — is an important facet of the investigation:
“While the lack of details surrounding the shooting may frustrate the media and breed suspicion among those already distrustful of the system, those closely guarded details give law enforcement the best yardsticks for measuring whether witnesses are truthful,” Callahan said. “Without those yardsticks, an investigation becomes more of a guessing game or popularity contest than a search for the truth.”
Head to Time for more.
The Ferguson Quik Trip has become a prime gathering spot during the evenings of unrest.
From The Post last night:
Later, just before 11 p.m. local time, a confrontation broke out near the burned-out remains of a Quik Trip convenience store — destroyed in the aftermath of Brown’s death. Dozens of men and women stood at the darkened Quik Trip parking lot. Some held their hands up. A police helicopter flew low overhead.
“If you are on the Quik Trip parking lot, you are unlawfully assembled. You need to continue to move,” an officer said.
The protesters stayed, and set up orange cones. Police responded by throwing out smoke bombs and flares …
Now, officials are making efforts to keep protesters off the property.
The "QT People's Park" – a rallying point and town square of sorts – completely fenced in and shut down pic.twitter.com/h3EPYK3ZM5
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 19, 2014
— Lisa Brown (@LisaBrownSTL) August 19, 2014
— Lisa Brown (@LisaBrownSTL) August 19, 2014
The latest efforts to seal off the Quik Trip ruins came a day after the Huffington Post reported that police were attempting to clear the property.
As it has been for over a week, the morning after yet another night of clashes with police in Ferguson is remarkably calm.
This Reuters photograph captures the stark difference between night and day there. In it, a protester hands a St. Louis County police officer a rose, which has become a symbol of remembrance for slain teen Michael Brown.
Gone are the gas masks, riot gear and floodlights. And residents are fanning out, cleaning the streets with the help of police after last night’s chaos: