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Missouri State Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal, who represents the city of Ferguson in the
state legislature, has called for Ferguson police chief to step down immediately.
After another night of clashes between police and protesters as well as some continuing violence and looting, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon Monday called off a highly unpopular curfew in Ferguson, Missouri, and called in the National Guard. Civil rights groups have called the curfew unconstitutional. It was implemented after peaceful protests of the police slaying of 18-year-old Michael Brown were broken up by heavily armed riot cops firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds along with blasts from a sound cannon. Police also responded during the week in a hard-core fashion to looting and violence, at least some of which has been reported to have been the work of outsiders taking advantage of the situation. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:
At his press conference after another night of violent clashes with protesters, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson said new security steps were planned but declined to detail them. In response to one of the few questions that were allowed, he said those plans were still in flux but did not include bringing in National Guard troops. But Nixon announced a short time later he would bring in those troops.
Terrific communication and coordination there. The St. Louis NAACP condemned the use of the National Guard, with Adolphus M. Pruitt, first vice president of Missouri State Conference of Branches and president of St. Louis NAACP, saying Ron Johnson, the state police captain assigned to oversee security in Ferguson, should get more time to get the job done.

The governor said in a prepared statement on calling out the guard:

Following coordinated attacks last night both on civilians and law enforcement officers, I signed an executive order directing the Missouri National Guard to help restore peace and order in Ferguson. The Guard's immediate and limited responsibilities under the direction of Colonel Ron Replogle of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, are to provide protection, and ensure the safety of our Unified Command Center, which was the target last night of a coordinated attack. The Guard will concentrate its resources on carrying out this limited mission. [...]

Again, I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning the violent acts we saw last night, including the firing upon law enforcement officers, the shooting of a civilian, the throwing of Molotov cocktails, looting and a coordinated attempt to overrun the unified Command Center.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP Legal Defense fund, the Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law and 11 other organizations issued a joint statement Monday objecting to "the suspension of constitutional rights in Ferguson" and making several recommendations.

Please read below the fold to see the civil rights organizations' remarks:

While the Ferguson Police Department is permitted to continue to openly defy the Sunshine Law by hiding the incident report of the shooting of Michael Brown, the First Amendment rights of civilians are being curtailed by the curfew order. Allowing the City of Ferguson to break the law is contrary to law enforcement's insistence that citizens obey all laws and to Ferguson's own shameful decision to selectively release public records in a transparent effort to smear its victim. A transparent investigation is necessary to build trust and bring peace, and efforts to restrict freedoms and hide records are contrary to those goals and serve to escalate a situation fraught with tension.

But the suspension of constitutional rights in Ferguson does much more than suppress speech. It subjects an entire community to imprisonment in their homes—a lockdown on the residents of Ferguson who have done no wrong and seek nothing more than justice. This unprecedented action cannot be divorced from the history of law enforcement officials treating communities of color as the problem rather than an indispensable part of the solution. It continues this community's experience of law enforcement as there to control and dictate, rather than to serve and protect. [...]

• A comprehensive federal review  and reporting of all police killings, accompanied by immediate action to address the unjustified use of lethal and excessive force by police officers in jurisdictions throughout this country against unarmed people of color,

• A comprehensive federal review and reporting of excessive use of force generally against youth and people of color and the development of national use of force standards,  

• A comprehensive federal review and reporting of racially disproportionate policing, examining rates of stops, frisks, searches, and arrests by race, including a federal review of police departments’ data collection practices and capabilities,

• A comprehensive federal review and reporting of police departments’ racial profiling and racially bias practices, as well as any related policies and trainings [...]

Evidence that channels of communication and coordination in Ferguson are bollixed or intentionally sabotaged keeps popping up.

Although Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson was put in charge of Ferguson security, apparent lack of communication or something more sinister was illustrated Friday when FPD Chief Thomas Jackson released a surveillance video purporting to show Michael Brown engaged in what police called a "strong-arm robbery." He did so without consulting Johnson, Nixon or others, even though the release was something the governor's office, Johnson and the U.S. Department of Justice opposed, saying it would inflame the community. Given that the alleged robbery had nothing to do with the slaying of Brown, it's hard to see the video release as anything more than a smear of the victim intended to poison public opinion. The obvious question: Who is really in charge?

Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal doesn't know, but she knows who she doesn't want in charge. She represents Ferguson in the state legislature and has called for Chief Jackson to step down. Andrea Mitchell interviewed her Monday. An excerpt:

Mitchell: Should the police chief be fired?

Chappelle-Nadal: I think he should resign, absolutely, right now.

Mitchell: It's sort of stunning that he could [release the surveillance video] without the state police captain—Captain Johnson—knowing about it, without the governor knowing about it. Is Captain Johnson really in charge?

Chappelle-Nadal: You know, last night I started thinking about this entire ordeal and I received some information from the ground this morning. And I almost think that Captain Johnson is being used as a pawn to cover for all of the mistakes of Governor Nixon at this time.

Mitchell: Well, Captain Johnson has certainly impressed a lot of people there and around the nation for how committed he is, how passionate, how well he knows the community and his courage. So, he certainly is doing an important job there. The question is the lines of authority and why they're not clearer and what will the National Guard be doing.

Chappelle-Nadal: Well, here's how I see it right now. Because of our Chief Johnson here ...er...Jackson in Ferguson not communicating and also communicating conflicting information to the press and to our local daily newspaper, I call into question some of his actions. Especially because the people of this community are very upset and they're very hurt right now. And they want to have transparent communication at this point, and they want to receive justice.

One of the biggest problems right now that a lot of my young people are thinking about is the fact that this police officer is on paid leave. He gets to sit at home. And what I am hearing from from Ground Zero is if it was a young African American man who shot someone, he would not be sitting at home right now, he would be in jail. And so I am looking at some of the actions of Captain Johnson—yes, he is from the community, yes, he has a lot of respect, but because St. Louis County as well as the chief of police in Ferguson are not communicating with Captain Johnson there is a disconnect. And, again, something that has been mentioned before, is there is a total disconnect with communicating with the young people who are out here every single day. They are the ones who are hurt, they are the ones that are victims, they are the ones that any given time—right place, right time—can be Michael Brown.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 02:38 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community, Barriers and Bridges, and Daily Kos.

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