Gov. Nixon tak­ing Na­tional Guard out of Fer­gu­son

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

FER­GU­SON, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon on Thurs­day or­dered the Mis­souri Na­tional Guard to be­gin with­draw­ing from Fer­gu­son, where nightly scenes of un­rest have erupted since a white po­lice of­fi­cer fa­tally shot an un­armed black 18-year-old nearly two weeks ago.

Since the guard’s ar­rival Mon­day, flare-ups in the small sec­tion of town that had been the cen­ter of nightly un­rest have be­gun to sub­side. The qui­etest night was overnight Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day, when po­lice ar­rested only a hand­ful of peo­ple in the protest zone.

“As we con­tinue to see im­prove­ment, I have or­dered the Mis­souri Na­tional Guard to be­gin a sys­tem­atic process of with­draw­ing from the City of Fer­gu­son,” the gover­nor said in a state­ment.

De­mon­stra­tions be­gan af­ter the Aug. 9 shoot­ing of Michael Brown, and au­thor­i­ties have ar­rested at least 163 peo­ple in the protest area. Data pro­vided Thurs­day by St. Louis County showed that while the ma­jor­ity of those ar­rested are Mis­souri­ans, just seven live in Fer­gu­son, a St. Louis sub­urb. The vast ma­jor­ity, 128 peo­ple, were cited for fail­ure to dis­perse. Twenty-one face bur­glary-re­lated charges.

Mean­while Thurs­day, St. Louis County pros­e­cu­tor Bob McCul­loch re­it­er­ated he has no in­ten­tions of re­mov­ing him­self from the case, and he urged Nixon to once and for all de­cide if he will act on calls for McCul­loch’s ouster.

Some ques­tion McCul­loch’s abil­ity to be un­bi­ased since his fa­ther, mother and other rel­a­tives worked for St. Louis po­lice. His fa­ther was killed while re­spond­ing to a call in­volv­ing a black sus­pect.

Nixon said this week he is not ask­ing McCul­loch to re­cuse him­self. But a McCul­loch aide, Ed Magee, said the gover­nor ‘didn’t take an ac­tual po­si­tion one way or the other.”

McCul­loch called for a more de­fin­i­tive de­ci­sion. He said in a state­ment that Nixon must “end this dis­trac­tion” or risk de­lay in res­o­lu­tion of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A Nixon spokesman did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a mes­sage seek­ing com­ment.

Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties have launched an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Brown’s death, and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill told The As­so­ci­ated Press that all of the phys­i­cal ev­i­dence from the case was be­ing flown Thurs­day from St. Louis to the FBI foren­sics lab in Quan­tico, Vir­ginia. The ev­i­dence in­cludes shell cas­ings and tra­jec­to­ries, blood pat­terns and cloth­ing, the Mis­souri Demo­crat said.

“The only thing you have to test the cred­i­bil­ity of eye wit­nesses to a shoot­ing like this is in fact the phys­i­cal ev­i­dence,” McCaskill said.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Pro­test­ers stand in the street as light­ning flashes in the night sky in Fer­gu­son, Mo. on Wed­nes­day, Aug. 20, 2014. A grand jury has be­gun hear­ing ev­i­dence as it weighs pos­si­ble charges against the Fer­gu­son po­lice of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown.

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