A Democratic Missouri state senator representing parts of Ferguson who tweeted multiple times “fuck you,” at Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon defended her choice of words on Fox News Monday saying she did so because she was tear-gassed for three days.
“The reason why I used profane language is because he has allowed us to get tear-gassed for three days,” Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said. “I am one of his senators in his party and he was at the state fair enjoying a country concert while we were getting teargassed and shot at. And yes, anyone who’s going to get teargassed deserves to say a few ‘F’ bombs here and there.”
“I represent my constituents, not Gov. Nixon,” the senator said. “He has been absent from the minority community his entire career and only comes before us when it is politically expedient for him. Or when he’s running for office, and because he has been outside of this community…let me tell you this, and this is important for your audience to know. He has still yet to come to ground zero. Yet to come to ground zero. He’s been in Florissant, he’s been in Normandy, but he has not spoken to the victims of the crisis we are dealing with and that is why I have called him a coward.”
Monday night, when the Ferguson protest was two days old, Maria Chappelle-Nadal had a private Twitter account @MariaChappelleN and 458 followers. Since then, the Missouri state senator (who reps my area) has gone public, using Twitter to call out Gov. Jay Nixon and share her own experience being tear gassed as a protester. And she has more than 2,800 followers.
that vine of the state senator who got gassed is still going around but her name is not on it her name is Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal burn that name into your skull if you reblog it tell everyone what her name is recognize her excellence
A skin-tingling speech which speaks to the heart of #Ferguson – Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal on Missouri Senate floor Sept. 10, 2014. Chapelle-Nadal delivers a gripping speech calling Gov. Nixon to the carpet for allowing Senators and constituents to be stripped of their 1st Amendment rights while being tear gassed and treated like animals. She details how MO Governor Nixon allowed the state of emergency to escalate while he did nothing. Senator Chapelle-Nadal brings it all into perspective, detailing personal experiences as well as the racist history of #Ferguson which culminated into the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting when the MO Governor treated #Ferguson like foreign enemy territory. A must watch speech!
Ron Davis, the father of Jordan Davis, a black teen who was unarmed when he was fatally shot in Florida two years ago, arrived with Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a police officer in Oakland, California, on New Year’s Day in 2009. Film director Spike Lee, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Missouri lawmakers Claire McCaskill and Maria Chappelle-Nadal were among those in attendance.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. will launch this week a broad civil rights investigation into the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department, according to two federal law enforcement officials.
The investigation, which could be announced as early as Thursday afternoon, will be conducted by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and follow a process similar to that used to investigate other police departments across the country, the officials said.
The announcement follows the shooting last month of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American, by a white Ferguson police officer, who claimed he acted in self-defense. Brown, who was unarmed, was shot at least six times on the afternoon of Aug. 9.
Holder’s decision will represent the Obama administration’s most aggressive step to address the Ferguson shooting, which set off days of often-violent clashes between police and demonstrators in the streets of the St. Louis suburb.
The federal officials said the probe will look at not only Ferguson, but other police departments in St. Louis County. Some, like Ferguson, are predominantly white departments serving majority African-American communities. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a pending investigation.
The investigation is in addition to a Justice Department probe into whether Officer Darren Wilson, who fired the fatal shots, violated Brown’s civil rights. The new probe will look more broadly at whether the department employed policies and practices that resulted in a pattern of civil rights violations.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that five current and one former member of the police force face pending federal lawsuits claiming they used excessive force. The lawsuits, as well as more than a half-dozen internal investigations, include claims that individual officers separately hog-tied a 12-year-old boy who was checking his family mailbox, pistol-whipped children, and Tasered a mentally-ill man to death.
Under Holder, the Justice Department has initiated twice as many reviews of police departments for possible constitutional violations as any of his predecessors. At least 34 other departments are under investigation for alleged civil rights violations.
In April, for example, the Justice Department issued a scathing report concluding that the Albuquerque Police Department had repeatedly used deadly and excessive force in violation of citizens’ constitutional rights, when there was no imminent threat to them or the community. The assistant attorney general of the department’s civil rights division said at the time the department suffered from “inadequate oversight, inadequate investigation of incidents of force, inadequate training of officers to ensure they understand what is permissible or not.”
Federal “pattern and practice” civil rights investigations often end up in a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department against a local police department. Justice officials could also reach a settlement with the police department, which includes a consent decree and federal monitoring, as with the New Orleans and San Juan police departments.
Brown was stopped by Wilson as he walked down the middle of a neighborhood street with a friend. Wilson has told investigators that Brown reached for his gun while they had a scuffle at his car, law enforcement have told the Post.
Community witnesses say Brown was assassinated in the street. They say he had run from the officer after an argument at the policeman’s car, then turned around to surrender after being shot at and being frightened. The six shots in his body all appeared to enter his body from the front, including two in his head, according to an independent autopsy.
Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon could not be reached for comment. Calls to Ferguson Mayor James Knowles were not immediately returned Wednesday. Emails to the Ferguson police department public relations firm were not immediately returned.
News of the expanded probe comes as community leaders in Ferguson say the Michael Brown case has brought scores of new allegations of local police brutality to their attention.
“I’ve literally had to pull my staff from Jefferson City and put them in Ferguson because of the number of people who are saying they’ve had past issues with the police,” said State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, whose district includes Ferguson and says she is “fully supportive” of an expanded probe into the department.
“Because of the Michael Brown situation I have been getting other emails, and phone calls, and tweets about other individuals who have allegations of police brutality,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “The expansion of an investigation is by all means a great thing. I absolutely welcome this.”
Julie Tate, Wesley Lowery and Alice Crites contributed to this report.
BREAKING: The Full Sequence of Events That Led Up To The Murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri On August 9th, 2014
To hear the full eyewitness testimony of the first four eyewitnesses, watch below.
To see the eyewitness testimony from the two new eyewitnesses, watch below.
The autopsy reports have not been fully released. Here is a summary of what was discovered, courtesy of Politico.
Michael Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, when he was killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer, according to a preliminary autopsy.
The results, first obtained by The New York Times, showed that Brown was shot four times in the right arm. Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York who conducted the autopsy, said the bullet that caused the fatal injury struck Brown near the top of his skull and suggested he was bent forward when it hit.
“Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner,” DOJ spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement Sunday. “This independent examination will take place as soon as possible.”
Brown, an unarmed African-American 18-year-old, was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson last Saturday. The autopsy reported that there was no gunpowder on Brown’s body, suggesting that the bullets might not have been not fired at close range. The report said that determination could change depending on whether gunpowder is found on Brown’s clothing, which have not yet been examined.
The attorney for Brown’s family Benjamin Crump called the privately requested autopsy “very preliminary” and said it “only tells part of the story,” but said its result support the numerous eyewitness accounts of Brown’s shooting.
“It’s going to be one of those things that we have to get all the witness statements out and look at all the autopsies, all the evidence to put this picture together,” he said at a press conference Monday following the release of the private autopsy.
Baden said six bullets struck Brown, including two head wounds and added there weren’t any signs of a struggle. However, Baden said x-rays, which should be available at some time whether in the next few weeks or month, will give more information. He added that “at some time” there will be access to Brown’s clothing.
“But often in an investigation like this, it’s not uncommon for prosecutors not to want information released, but I think in my experience, when that happens it only get the community more upset,” Baden said.
On ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday morning, Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden called the autopsy “very, very troubling.”
“It confirms our worst fears that the witnesses were telling the truth — that our son was shot many times,” she said during the interview. “What is worst is the head shot.”
Baden said he recovered only three of the six bullets from Brown’s body, and the Times report added that “some of the bullets entered and exited several times, including one that left at least five different wounds.”
The doctor criticized the Ferguson Police Department for failing to disclose how many times Brown had been shot. “People have been asking: How many times was he shot?” Baden said. “This information could have been released on Day 1. They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up.
The above working theory of events is courtesy of @ShaunKing on Twitter.
Here is a full summary of events from the unrest in Ferguson and events since Michael Brown’s murder.
August 9 (Saturday, Day 1)
11:51 a.m.: Michael Brown is allegedly involved in a “strong-arm robbery” at a convenience store. Brown allegedly grabbed a convenience store employee by his shirt and pushed him back into a display rack. The event was partially recorded by in-store surveillance camera, although the recording does not clearly show the actions alleged. Two young males can be seen entering the store and bringing some items to the front counter, which are apparently pushed back toward them by someone behind the counter causing some items to fall on the floor. The pair then apparently walk out of the store with some items over the protests of an employee. Whether any money was left for the items or not cannot be readily determined from the video. [better source needed] The owners of the convenience store told FOX 2 St. Louis that no employee of the store reported a robbery; a customer inside the store made the call.
12:00 p.m.: Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson left a scene of a call regarding a sick child.
12:01 p.m.: Wilson, unaware of the convenience store robbery, encounters Brown walking in the middle of the road. According to police, Brown’s presence in the middle of the road was stopping traffic.  Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, who was with him at the time of the confrontation, disputes this. Wilson confronts Brown and eventually shoots and kills him.
12:04 p.m.: A second officer arrives on the scene followed by a supervisor one minute later. An ambulance responding to the earlier sick person call drives by and responds to assess Brown.
The crime scene is cordoned off by police for investigation and Brown’s body remains in place for “several hours”.
August 10 (Sunday, Day 2)
Morning: A vigil is held for Brown.
Morning: The St. Louis County Police Department holds a press conference.
8:00 p.m.: Another vigil is held for Brown.
9:00 p.m.: Looting by protestors begins.
August 11 (Monday, Day 3)
2:00 a.m.: The rioting is put under control.
10:00 a.m.: A protest is cancelled.
Hackers take down the city website.
The Jennings School District cancels classes.
4:00 p.m.: Brown’s family holds a press conference with Al Sharpton and Benjamin Crump.
6:00 p.m.: The NAACP holds a press conference at Murchison Tabernacle Church.
At a Tuesday night community meeting, Belmar and McCullough announce that they will not release the officer’s name until criminal charges are filed.
Additional unrest occurs at a QuikTrip and is eventually dispersed with the usage of tear gas.
Protests at St. Louis County Police Headquarters, August 12
August 12 (Tuesday, Day 4)
12:30 p.m.: Al Sharpton is heckled at a press conference in front of the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.
Hackers obtain personal pictures and information about St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar and post it online.
KMOX reports that STL area gun sales have gone up.
U.S. President Barack Obama issues a statement regarding Brown’s shooting.
Police charge nine rioters with felonies.
Ferguson city leaders request that protests and prayer vigils should only be held in the daytime.
Two rallies occur in the evening:
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon holds the first rally at Christ the King United Church of Christ on Black Jack.
August 13 (Wednesday, Day 5)
1:00 a.m.: Police shoot another person who reportedly pointed a handgun at an officer.
Protests occur for the fifth straight night.
Evening: Two reporters, identified as Ryan Reilly of The Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post, were briefly taken into custody after SWAT officers cleared a McDonald's restaurant.
Evening: Protesters lob Molotov cocktails at police.
Police officers are widely reported to have used obscurants, tear gas, and military equipment during the civilian protests.
August 14 (Thursday, Day 6)
Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D), who represents part of Ferguson, is tear-gassed while with protesters. Later during the day, she tweets “FUCK you” to Governor Nixon (D).
Nixon announces in a press conference that the Missouri State Highway Patrol will take over policing Ferguson from the St. Louis County Police Department, referring to the change as “an operational shift”.
Protests at Ferguson, August 15
August 15 (Friday, Day 7)
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson holds a news conference where he simultaneously identifies the officer who shot Brown as Darren Wilson as well as releasing an incident report naming Brown as the suspect in a “strong-arm” robbery of a Ferguson convenience store, located not far from where Brown was shot.
Jackson holds a second news conference where he states that Wilson was not aware that the authorities were searching for Brown when he first came upon him while driving in the neighborhood.
August 16 (Saturday, Day 8)
After midnight, on the morning of August 16, protests again turn violent with numerous instances of looting, and there are reports of at least three Molotov cocktails being thrown. The Ferguson Market, in particular, is targeted by looters.
Governor Nixon declares a state of emergency and implements a curfew from midnight to 5:00 a.m. in Ferguson.
40 FBI agents arrive in the St. Louis area to canvass the local neighborhood for witnesses and assist with the investigation.
August 17 (Sunday, Day 9)
Midnight to 5:00 a.m.: The curfew declared by Nixon is enforced, but a crowd initially defies it. Police use smoke and tear gas to disperse the crowd. A protester is shot during the encounter and is listed in critical condition, while seven others are arrested.
August 18 (Monday, Day 10)
President Obama addresses the riots in a news conference, in which he announces that he will be sending U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson to monitor the situation.
August 19 (Tuesday, Day 11)
Kajieme Powell, a 23-year-old African American man, was shot and killed by two St. Louis police officers several miles from Ferguson. The police had been called following Powell’s alleged shoplifting from a nearby convenience store. Powell, who was holding a steak knife, told the officers, “Shoot me now.” Seconds later, two police officers fired twelve shots, killing Powell. Video captured on the scene shows the officers handcuffing Powell as he lay on the ground, perhaps already dead. St. Louis Police Chief described the officers’ actions as defending themselves and quoted an unnamed witness who “described it as suicide by cop.”
Forty-seven people were arrested.
August 20 (Wednesday, Day 12)
Lieutenant Ray Albers of the St. Ann Police Department was suspended indefinitely from his duties after pointing a semi-automatic service rifle at peaceful protesters and threatening them the night before.
On August 20, Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to Ferguson, where he met with residents as well as Brown’s family.
Six individuals were arrested.
August 21 (Thursday, Day 13)
Nixon withdrew the National Guard from Ferguson after witnessing improvements during the social unrest.
A more detailed timeline from Vox (only goes up to August 21st as well):
What’s in dispute about the shooting
What happened before Brown was shot
— Multiple eyewitness accounts say that Brown was killed while attempting to surrender.
— Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown at the time, says that the two of them were walking in the middle of the street when a police car approached, and the officer told them to get on the sidewalk.
— Eyewitness Piaget Crenshaw says that Johnson, Brown and the officer got into a verbal confrontation, and the officer attempted to put Brown in the police car. When Brown began to flee, with his hands in the air, she says, the officer got out of the car and started shooting at Brown. (Crenshaw has photos of the shooting, which have been turned over to the police.)
— Another eyewitness told the press that the officer was in his car when he started shooting at the boys. (At least one shot was fired from the police car.)
— Johnson says that he and Brown started running when they heard the first shot. He told local news station KMOV that Wilson “shot again, and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air. He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.”
— Meanwhile, St. Louis County police, who have been called in to investigate Brown’s death, say that Brown assaulted Wilson before he was killed. St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar told reporters on August 10 that Brown shoved the officer back into the police car, “physically assaulted” him, and attempted to grab the officer’s gun. According to Belmar, the officer only began firing at Brown after the assault.
— According to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson during a briefing on August 12, the officer who shot Johnson was injured during the encounter. One side of Wilson’s face was swollen, Jackson said.
How many times Brown was shot
— On Sunday, Belmar told reporters that Brown was shot “more than just a couple [times], but I don’t think it was many more than that.”
— Johnson’s eyewitness account indicates that four shots were fired. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, says she was told that Brown was shot eight times.
What we know about the first weekend’s protests
Saturday, August 9
— A crowd gathered at the scene soon after Brown was shot, and their protest extended through much of Saturday afternoon. A subsequent protest at the Ferguson Police Department headquarters happened Saturday evening. The number of demonstrators varied: a CNN report says that there were up to 1,000 protesters at the peak of the demonstrations, while other reports say there were about 200.
— Brown’s body was left at the scene for several hours after the shooting. Police said that they needed the time to conduct “due diligence,” saying that the crowd made it difficult for them to process evidence properly. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson later told reporters that he was “uncomfortable” with the amount of time the body had been in the street.
— Protesters held their hands in the air and chanted “Don’t shoot me,” “We are Michael Brown," "No justice, no peace," and "Killer cops have got to go." Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, held a sign that read "Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!”
— During Saturday’s demonstration, around 2 p.m., a series of shots were fired in the area near the crime scene.
— More than 100 officers from 15 different police departments were called to the scene during Saturday’s protests.
Sunday, August 10
— On Sunday, August 10, nonviolent protests continued, but with a heavy police presence.
— One CNN video report, flagged by Colorlines, shows a police officer saying to protesters, “Bring it, you fucking animals! Bring it!” (at the 00:15 mark):
What’s in dispute about the first weekend’s protests
— Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters that Saturday’s protest at the crime scene “probably bordered on riot conditions.” Police say that the shots that were heard in the area during the protest were “warning shots” fired by protesters, and that protesters were heard shouting, “Kill the police.” According to the police, the purpose of the 60 reinforcements from other police departments was to protect public safety in a dangerous atmosphere.
— However, other accounts from Saturday’s protest don’t indicate that anyone shouted “kill the police,” and several eyewitnesses say that the police misheard or misinterpreted what protesters were shouting: “Killer cops have got to go” and “No justice, no peace.”
— There’s no confirmation as to the context of the gunshots fired during Saturday’s protest.
— Reports also differed about the tone of Sunday’s protests prior to the rioting. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that protesters were “taunting” the police officers, but did not quote any protesters engaging in taunts.
What we know about the unrest on Sunday, August 10
— As protests continued on Sunday night, others in Ferguson began to engage in looting and violence. St. Louis alderman Antonio French has said on Twitter that looting began at a local QuikTrip convenience store. The store was later set on fire:
The QuickTrip is now burning. #Ferguson (photo: @PDPJ) pic.twitter.com/tJBeXQ6hzF
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) August 11, 2014
— Looting spread to the nearby neighborhood of Dellwood and continued late into the night on Sunday.
— Rumors surfaced of multiple shootings and that one man was severely beaten. But the Washington Post says no injuries were reported.
— A staff photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that when the looting began, there were no police at or around the QuikTrip. As looting continued, police helicopters moved into the area. A SWAT team moved in and used tear gas to disperse the looters.
— As of Thursday morning, the total amount of damage caused Sunday night hadn’t been calculated. The Ferguson Police Department told Los Angeles station KTLA that at least 20 police cars were damaged. Police did not tell the Washington Post how many people were arrested, but reports indicate “dozens” of arrests:
— Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters on Wednesday that 32 people were arrested during the looting on Sunday.
— Monday, August 11, was supposed to be the first day of school for Jennings School District, one of the four school districts that cover Ferguson. Administrators canceled school out of fear for student safety.
— On Monday, August 11, a group of Ferguson residents got together to clean up the QuikTrip.
Continued protests — and police dispersals — on Monday, August 11
— After Sunday night’s unrest, a protest and rally scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday morning was canceled, and the mayor of Ferguson said that anyone who attempted to show up to the rally would be arrested.
— Regardless, people still turned up at police headquarters to protest. Police officers were there with riot gear.
— After about two hours, the police succeeded in getting the crowd to disperse and started making arrests.
— On Monday night, protests continued. Groups gathered in the street, raising their hands in surrender and chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” It’s become the unofficial motto of the Ferguson protests.
— Police also attempted to disperse these protests, moving down W. Florissant, the main street in the neighborhood. This time, they used tear gas and explosives to clear crowds and fired rubber bullets. One report indicates that police cocked their rifles at protesters. Police told protesters to “go home,” but several residents protested that they were trapped in cul-de-sacs while the main road was closed off. Police also threatened press with arrest if they didn’t leave the scene.
— One family was standing in their backyard, which borders W. Florissant, while holding their hands up in protest. Police fired a tear gas canister at them, into the backyard:
— One resident was challenged by police when he put his hands up after stepping out of his car.
— The evening ended with a standoff between police and about two dozen residents who were trying to get home. Wesley Lowery, a Washington Post reporter, was at the scene:
The final standoff came just before 11 p.m. Officers backed up their formation almost all the way to the housing complex where Brown was shot.
As they regrouped, the two dozen residents who remained outside approached with hands in the air.
“Can we go home? Do we need our hands up? Are you going to shoot us?”
The police, weapons at the ready, responded by telling them to stop asking questions and “just go home.”
Moments later, the cops pressed forward and cleared the street for good. As they passed, some remaining protesters threw rocks, and residents shouted from their windows: “This is our home. Leave us alone.”
— In all, police made several arrests on Monday. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters on Wednesday that around eight people had been arrested for unlawful assembly over the course of the last several days of protests.
— Police said no injuries were reported, and on Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that “nobody got hurt” in the response to protests. However, pictures circulated on social media of protesters with bruises and injuries from rubber and wooden bullets, and of one resident being loaded into an ambulance.
Continued tensions on Tuesday, August 12
— On Tuesday, August 12, the FAA issued a no-fly zone over Ferguson through Monday, August 18. The purpose of the no-fly zone, the agency said, is “to provide a safe haven for law enforcement activities” — to clear the airspace for police helicopters. On Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters that he did not know anything about the no-fly zone and had not requested it.
— On Tuesday evening, there was a brief standoff between protesters and police at the QuikTrip that had been looted on Sunday. Protesters became upset when police arrived in armored vehicles.
— Protesters amassed in downtown Ferguson again on Tuesday night. Police were again there in force, blocking streets to downtown, and reporters were again told they would be arrested if they didn’t leave. On Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that he didn’t know reporters had been threatened, and said, “No, I want free access.”
— Most protesters, however, made their way down the other end of W. Florissant to a church for an evening service at which Al Sharpton was scheduled to speak. A group of young residents continued to protest nonviolently outside the church — even removing someone who they were worried would agitate the crowd.
— Tuesday night’s protests were quiet and nonviolent for most of the evening.
— Around 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time, a crowd began to advance toward the bridge where police were holding a line to block traffic. Cops warned the crowd and told demonstrators to get off the street.
— Around 1 a.m. Central Time, St. Louis County police shot a man near Ferguson. Police say the man was pointing a gun at an officer. It is not clear whether the shooting was related to the protests. The man is incritical condition as of Wednesday morning.
Arrests and police aggression on Wednesday, August 13
— On Wednesday, August 13, the Ferguson Police Department released its first official statement since the shooting. The statement read, in part:
We only ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner. We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of the community.
This statement didn’t set an official curfew, which would have justified arresting residents who were out after a certain hour. Instead, the police appeared to be hoping to set an unofficial, voluntary curfew.
Asked about the statement on Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that there was no curfew, and that protesters who remained out after dark would not be arrested “as long as they’re peaceful and not blocking the roads.”
— Late Wednesday afternoon, protesters blocked both lanes of West Florissant again. Police began making arrests quickly. A large SWAT team arrived to clear the protesters, as well as a tactical vehicle. Cops continued to push protesters back for several blocks. Those who did not move were detained.
— The situation was then calm until around 8:30 p.m. Central Time, when cops began attempting to push protesters back another 25 feet. Protesters threw bottles and rocks; police and reporters say that one protester threw a Molotov cocktail, and police also say one officer was hit with a brick and broke his ankle. In response, police almost immediately started firing tear gas at the crowd. After telling them that this was no longer a peaceful protest and ordering them to leave the area, police used sound cannons to disperse the crowd and fired tear gas canisters into the area — including into neighborhood backyards.
— On Thursday, Antonio French posted an image of a woman who had been hit with a rubber bullet.(Warning: The image is graphic.)
— One news crew had tear gas fired at them while they were setting up for a shoot:
— Earlier in the evening, two reporters, Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, were arrested in a McDonald’s after a SWAT team ordered residents to clear it out. Watch the arrest play out in this video:
— Other arrestees were treated even more harshly.
— In the first reported instance of violence by residents against someone other than a police officer, a man walking his dog was beaten up by a group of teens.
— Late in the evening, protesters lined up outside the Ferguson Police Station.
“Reframing” the chain of command on Thursday, August 14
— On Thursday, August 14, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon told voters he would be “reframing” the chain of command among police in Ferguson. The office of Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri confirmed that the St. Louis County Police Department, which had been in charge during Wednesday night’s protests, would be removed from Ferguson. The chief of the St. Louis city police department also announced that his department would not be participating in Ferguson on Thursday night.
— On Thursday afternoon, Governor Nixon formally announced that the Missouri Highway Patrol, headed by Captain Ron Johnson, would take over police response to protesters in Ferguson. However, he said, the St. Louis County Police Department would remain in charge of the criminal investigation into Brown’s death.
— Protesters gathered again Thursday by the police station and along West Florissant. However, protesters did not block the road. Police were absent from afternoon protests.
— Helicopters appeared before the planned protest march, but police escorted protesters along the march route.Thousands of protesters marched.
— Missouri Highway Patrol captain Ron Johnson marched with the protesters and apologized to those who had been teargassed.
Highway patrol captain Ron Johnson is leading protesters on a march through Ferguson. A corner turned? pic.twitter.com/ewytjhz2uP
— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) August 14, 2014
— Several participants and reporters noted considerably smaller police presence and a noticeably more"jubilant" environment in the street.
— As sunset came, observers held their breaths, feeling that this would be the test of whether protests would remain peaceful. But the protests remained wholly peaceful.
— Later in the evening, Captain Johnson spoke — and held a picture of Michael Brown as he did so.
Captain Ron Johnson holding a picture of slain #MichaelBrown. One of the most powerful images of #Ferguson #NMOS14 pic.twitter.com/n7SvhA0zRp
— Sally Albright (@SallyAlbright) August 15, 2014
— In other parts of the country, people rallied in support of Ferguson’s protesters and against police brutality.
On Friday, August 15, police reveal details from the day of the shooting, and tensions escalate after dark
— On Friday, August 15, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson announced the name of the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown: Darren Wilson, who has been on the force for six years.
— In the same press conference, Jackson said that Michael Brown was the primary suspect in a strong-arm robbery of a convenience store that took place immediately before he was killed. He distributed packets to reporters that included security camera stills from the convenience store. CBS News later released video footage of the alleged robbery.
— Officials noted a negative mood change in Ferguson after the release of the information. Many protesters view it as an attempt to wrongly attack Michael Brown’s character and justify the shooting.
— Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who’s in charge of security in Ferguson, said he was not notified of the information prior to the news release. He added that he will have a “serious conversation” about better communications between police departments.
— In a second press conference later on Friday, Police Chief Jackson stated that “the initial contact with Brown was not related to the robbery," and clarified that Officer Wilson was not aware of the robbery at the time when he stopped Brown. Rather, Wilson stopped Brown because the teen was "walking in the middle of the street.” Jackson later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Wilson saw cigars in Brown’s hand and realized Brown could be the robber.
— When asked why he released information about the robbery, if it had nothing to do with Wilson’s shooting of Brown, Jackson said he had done so “because you asked for it,” an apparent reference to the sunshine-law requests that had sought information about Brown’s death.
— Although tensions were elevated by the Ferguson Police’s news releases earlier in the day, the night’s early marches continued peacefully. Hundreds of people reportedly turned out, despite the rain.
— Late in the night, protests heated up again. Heavily armed police returned to Ferguson, asking crowds to disperse, stop blocking roads, and go home. Police reportedly lobbed tear gas grenades.
— It’s not clear why or how the situation escalated so quickly. Reports indicate the protests intensified after heavily armed police returned and fired tear gas in response to protesters throwing rocks and other objects.
— A few protesters began looting stores, including the store Michael Brown is accused of robbing. Reporters said a majority of protesters tried to stop the looters, and the looters were mostly drunk kids.
— The looting appeared to stop after other protesters intervened to guard stores, even though police never moved in.
— After the looting dissipated, some people began peacefully protesting again. The protests dwindled as the night progressed.
— Looting began again after most protesters left.
— Police were apparently ordered to stand down when some officers tried to stop the looting.
— Later on, St. Louis alderman Antonio French provided a firsthand account of what happened throughout the night. Based on French’s description, only a minority of protesters engaged in looting, and a majority of protesters tried to stop them. Police didn’t intervene because they realized it could make the situation even more violent, since the protests are rooted in distrust toward law enforcement.
On Saturday, August 16, the governor sets a curfew in Ferguson
— Michael Brown’s family, St. Louis alderman Antonio French and Senator Clarie McCaskill, among others, condemned the previous night’s looting and said it didn’t represent a majority of protesters. “America, please don’t hold small group of looters against hundreds & hundreds of peaceful protesters,” McCaskill wrote on Twitter. “Rather hold small group accountable.”
— Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who’s in charge of security in Ferguson, said he didn’t order the deployment of tear gas last night, but he did ask for the deployment of armored trucks to assist injured officers.
— Some residents hosted a cookout near the location of the Michael Brown shooting.
— Johnson hugged and shook hands with residents before an afternoon press conference.
— At the press conference, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced an order declaring a state of emergency and curfew in Ferguson. The curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m. “This is not to silence the people of Ferguson or this region or others,” Nixon said, “but to contain those who would endanger others.”
— Johnson suggested security will resist a heavy-handed response while enforcing the curfew. “We won’t enforce it with trucks, we won’t enforce it with tear gas, we will communicate,” he said.
— Nixon noted that the FBI’s civil rights investigation into the Michael Brown shooting is “being beefed up” with investigators now on the ground in Ferguson.
— As the curfew approached, tensions remained high. Community leaders and the rain convinced most protesters to leave before midnight, but about 150 protesters remained after midnight. Some protesters built a barricade between police and the crowds to buy time, but tensions remained high.
— Police, after giving several warnings, fired smoke and tear gas at the protesters to enforce the curfew. Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Johnson said tear gas was used in response to reports of gunmen.
— At first, a few protesters remained, and some retaliated by throwing objects at police. After police moved in and detained seven people, the remaining protesters appeared to trickle out.
— Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Johnson said there were some gunshots fired throughout the night, but not by police. One gunshot hit a man who, according to the latest reports, was in critical condition.
— As for other violence, police said they were not aware of any looting.
— It was very difficult for journalists to report the evening’s events, because they were confined to a small media zone during curfew hours that was out of sight of a majority of the action. Police threatened to arrest reporters who tried to leave the media zone.
On Sunday, August 17, chaos returns to Ferguson
— US Attorney General Eric Holder, under the request of Michael Brown’s family, ordered another autopsy of Brown’s body. “Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner,” spokesperson Brian Fallon said. “This independent examination will take place as soon as possible. Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation.”
— Later in the day, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson gave a speech in which he apologized to Michael Brown’s family and pledged solidarity with Ferguson. “We all ought to be thanking the Browns for Michael, because Michael’s gonna make it better for our sons, so they can be better black men,” he said.
— The night’s protests began with what some reporters called a party atmosphere.
— After reports of gunshots, Molotov cocktails, and vandalism, police moved in to disperse protesters. Police used LRADs, which make piercing noises, and fired tear gas, some of which hit an eight-year-old boy.
— Police reported three injuries, none of which affected officers, and seven or eight arrests throughout the night.
— Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Johnson said security officials are planning additional steps to contain the violence in the future, but he would not elaborate what the steps will look like.
On Monday, August 18, the National Guard goes to Ferguson
— Early in the morning of August 18, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered the state’s National Guard to Ferguson in response to the previous night’s violence. The National Guard troops were intended to protect police, who had claimed they were in danger from protesters — in the hopes that more protection might prevent police from panicking. “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 said in a statement.
— That afternoon, Nixon announced that the midnight curfew Ferguson residents had been under during the weekend would be lifted. However, law enforcement officials said that protesters would no longer be allowed to stand on or by West Florissant — only walking protesters, not “stationary protests,” would be tolerated. Later reports said that protesters would be confined to an "authorized protest area" at one intersection,and West Florissant would be closed to traffic.
— Around 2:30 p.m. CDT, cops had already started arresting protesters outside the Ferguson McDonald’s. The McDonald’s closed before 5 p.m. CDT.
— The situation was largely peaceful throughout most of Monday night, with community leaders helping to keep the crowd calm. But that didn’t prevent police officers from activating sound cannons and aiming rifles at protesters and journalists. It was so peaceful, in fact, that CNN’s Jake Tapper sounded off on how ridiculous the police reaction looked in front of an overwhelmingly peaceful crowd. Later in the evening, however, Captain Ron Johnson appeared on CNN to defend the police’s actions.
— Around 11 p.m. Ferguson time, the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery reported bangs near the QuikTrip convenience store that’s become ground zero for the protests. Police rushed to the scene and deployed tear gas. Lowery also reported a fire in front of the store as armored trucks moved in.
— The tear gas burned a few people’s faces as it blew through the crowd. One photojournalist reportedly collapsed.
— Some protesters reportedly started a fire in the street to block police, and prepared "homemade bombs"in case of a confrontation with police.
— Around 11:45 p.m. Ferguson time, police ordered protesters to disperse. People who didn’t cooperate were arrested. Shortly after, journalists were also asked to move to a designated area at the police’s command center. One journalist from VICE had his media credential ripped off by a police officer, who said, “This doesn’t mean shit.”
gif’d that cop ripping off @timcast’s press badge #ferguson http://t.co/PA3aCKKizE
— kathleen french (@frenchamnesty) August 19, 2014
Reporter Ryan Devereaux of First Look was shot with rubber bullets and bean bags by police, and spent Monday night in jail. (He was released Tuesday morning.)
Captain Ron Johnson defended the police by saying that journalists were staying too close to protesters for police to tell them apart, and asked journalists not to "glamorize the acts of criminals.“
— As the night went on, the confrontation moved to the residential area of Canfield, where Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. What happened in Canfield is disputed — and is the basis for a deeper dispute among journalists and local leaders about whether the police response on Monday was a step forward for Ferguson, or the worst aggression yet.
Police, along with local leaders like Antonio French and local journalists, say that local "Canfield kids” were “fighters,” not protesters — that they were attacking police and egged on by outsiders from Chicago and other areas.
Journalists who were in the residential area, including Elon James, however, were part of a crowd of eight people who were fired on repeatedly with tear gas. James says that the group was teargassed simply for turning a corner onto the street.
Thankfully, tonight police did not overreact when someone threw water bottles at them. #fergusonhttps://t.co/tzD4OP2yRi
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 19, 2014
Sir a group of 6 - 8 of is got gassed multiple times @AntonioFrench how is that not an overreaction? #Ferguson
— Elon James White (@elonjames) August 19, 2014
— In all, 78 people were arrested in Ferguson on Monday night, 18 of whom were from outside Missouri. Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said that some of those arrested were from as far away as New York and California. Police confiscated two guns and one Molotov cocktail. Two people were shot, and four officers were reportedly injured by rocks thrown by protesters.
Relative quiet on Tuesday, August 19
— On the evening of August 19, the mood seemed more like a demonstration than a protest — especially as protesters were focusing on county prosecutor Bob McCulloch and calling for him to be removed from Michael Brown’s case. Police retained the “organized protest area” policy, but weren’t as strict in forcing protesters to keep moving, and showed more patience in dealing with protesters for most of the evening — it was the first night without the use of tear gas since the day Michael Brown was killed. More importantly, community leaders were active in leading protests, and helped urge protesters to leave the area after midnight Central time.
— Later in the evening, when a protester threw a water bottle at police, officers called in the armored trucks.
Water bottle thrown. Chaos ensues. Not many protesters (more media than them). The few protesters left are just adamant and angry. #Ferguson
— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 20, 2014
Riot police went after a few ppl hard after getting hit with water. Wasted no time Brought the armored trucks in. #Ferguson
— Ray Downs (@RayDowns) August 20, 2014
— The de facto leaders of the protesters, for their part, attempted to defuse the situation. They stood in a line between demonstrators and the police.
Peacekeepers form human barrier btwn police and media area where some protestors are mingling in the crowd. #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/661WSH282r
— Akilah Johnson (@akjohnson1922) August 20, 2014
— Police kept pushing. They aimed guns at protesters and media. They shot rubber bullets. They ordered people to go home. They made multiple arrests as protesters failed to disperse. Police told the media to leave. A photographer and other media personnel were arrested.
The smoke clears in Ferguson
— The protests on August 20 were the second night in a row that police didn’t deploy any tear gas, perhaps the biggest sign yet that tensions are easing — at least for now — in the small town.
— In response, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard to begin pulling out of Ferguson.
— The protests seem to have calmed for the time being. Although some crowds still take to the streets on occasion, it’s usually in relative peace and without heavy police interference.
Some of the context for community anger
— There’s a history of police violence against young black men, and the shooting takes place at a time when this perennial topic was already being widely discussed. New Yorker Eric Garner, an unarmed black man,was killed in July after police put him in a chokehold by police. The incident, which was caught on video, caused an outcry against the New York Police Department — especially after Garner’s death was officially ruled a homicide. Mayor Bill de Blasio eventually agreed to a review of the department’s training procedures.
— The frustration and anger in Ferguson likely goes beyond the killing of Brown. Ferguson is like many cities in America: police disproportionately stop and arrest black residents. While 67 percent of Ferguson is black, 86 percent of all traffic stops and 92 percent of all arrests are of black residents, according to state report on racial profiling obtained by Buzzfeed. But black residents of Ferguson who are stopped by police are less likely to be carrying contraband than white residents are.
— The city’s government is predominately white as well: there is one black person on the Ferguson city council and one Latino on the school board. Just three out of the city’s 53 commissioned police officers are black.
— There’s also a lot of anger around how the media portrays young men who are killed. Over the weekend, the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, which was trending on Twitter on Sunday night, captured the divide between how young black men see themselves and how the media sees them.
— Advocates around the country who have been outraged by the shooting organized National Moments of Silence on August 14 in several cities to protest police brutality.
What we know about the investigation into Brown’s shooting
— The St. Louis County Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation to see if Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown. Their findings will be used by St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who is responsible for filing charges against Wilson. On August 20, a grand jury convened to decide whether to charge Wilson in Brown’s death.
— Protesters and local leaders have expressed serious concerns about whether county prosecutor McCulloch will be willing to prosecute Wilson effectively. In the past, McCulloch has failed to press charges in some similar cases, and has broken trial rules in others. There’s a rising call for McCulloch to recuse himself from the case, or for Governor Jay Nixon to remove McCulloch from the case. Nixon has said he won’t remove McCulloch, but allowed McCulloch to recuse himself. McCulloch, in response, dared Nixon to “make a decision.”
— St. Louis County Police Chief Belmar has spoken favorably of the Ferguson police, telling reporters on August 10, “I would not think anybody would [ask for an investigation] if they had anything to hide." Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson is a former St. Louis County police officer, which also raises concerns about the investigation’s objectivity. Jackson told reporters on August 13th that he had asked the St. Louis County police to keep him "out of the loop.”
— Investigators have received photos from eyewitness Piaget Crenshaw, as well as a video that was recorded after the shooting.
— The Ferguson Police Department received a grant this year to purchase several dashboard cameras for police vehicles and two to three body cameras for officers, the Ferguson police chief told reporters Wednesday, but doesn’t have the money to install them yet — so no known video of the shooting exists.
— Eyewitness Dorian Johnson, Brown’s friend who was also stopped by the officer, testified to police on August 13, after several days during which he said he was not contacted to testify.
— On August 11, the FBI announced that it was also launching its own civil-rights investigation of Brown’s death. The St. Louis NAACP had called on the FBI to take up the investigation to make sure it would be sufficiently independent. Ferguson police chief Jackson told the AP that the FBI would be taking over the St. Louis County investigation of the shooting. However, the FBI says that they’re reviewing the incident for possible civil rights violations, not duplicating the criminal investigation.
— Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, has been put on paid administrative leave while the investigation is conducted. Wilson was not identified until six days after the shooting. Police originally planned to release his name on the morning of August 12, but changed their minds out of concern for his safety.
— On August 12, the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office announced that they would not be releasing the results of the autopsy of Michael Brown’s body. However, on August 18th, someone with the county medical examiner’s office leaked some of the autopsy’s findings to the Washington Post. The autopsy found that Brown was shot six to eight times in the head and chest, and that he had marijuana in his system at the time of his death.
— Brown’s body was released to his family on August 13, and the family arranged for an independent autopsy. Results of that autopsy were reported by the New York Times on August 17. The independent autopsy showed at least six shots in the head and right arm, including one shot on the top of the head — indicating that Brown’s head was down when at least one shot was fired.
— Attorney General Eric Holder announced on August 17 that the federal government would be conducting its own autopsy on Brown’s body for its investigation.
— Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters on Wednesday, August 13, that the 911 tapes from witnesses to Brown’s shooting would be released to the public but did not say when that would happen.
Efforts to rebuild race and community relations in Ferguson
— On Wednesday, August 13, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters that the police department has been working with the community relations division of the Department of Justice to improve race and community relations. “That’s a top priority,” he said.
— On Thursday, August 14, the Department of Justice is coordinating a meeting between Chief Jackson and community leaders, including the head of the local NAACP.
Hopefully, Officer Darren Wilson is arrested soon.
If i have left anything out, I will add it when you let me know.
Hi :) I've been watching the news and following the protests online for a while now and I always hear about what the population is doing. So far, I haven't really heard anything abt the US gov addressing the issues. Am I right in saying this? (I don't live in America and I'm not American so i'm not really in the know about the gov. I ask my American friends about it but they always change the subject, so I was wondering if you could please tell me about the gov's position in this). Thanks :)
Check out this post and these links. More links can be found in the Update tag.
Hey there! I was wondering if you already have, or if you could put together some kind of compilation of articles/info about the female identifying protesters of Ferguson? I'm doing a presentation on women in protest and having trouble finding good information. Thanks so much!
Do you have any idea as to who in the federal government deserves my complaints and phone calls and letters and emails every day for allowing not only Ferguson police to be militarized again, but for 1000 other police to terrorize protesters in Call Of Duty grade weaponry? I get Missouri is completely corrupt, but who at the federal level is turning a blind eye to the dystopian fiction that's literally coming to life in Missouri? Who is allowing this again-- and allowing it on a statewide scale?
Sorry, I don’t know a lot about this particular area so to anyone who knows more than I do, please correct me if I’m wrong…
But I think you can contact senators and state representatives.