Jay Nixon, Governor of Missouri, declared a state of emergency in Ferguson, and instituted a curfew from midnight to 5 a.m.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in Ferguson, Mo., on Saturday, following nights of protests after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer.
“If we’re going to have justice, we must first have and maintain peace,” Nixon said at a Saturday afternoon press conference. “The eyes of the world are watching.”
Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says the curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m. local time Sunday and will be enforced through conversations, not tear gas and tanks.
A curfew. As if adults are children and need to be told to go home at a certain time. Or maybe the Governor is treating them like a potential public safety issue. Maybe he thinks it’s ‘for their own good’. I don’t know what the reasoning is, but I disagree with it. The citizens of Ferguson want to read the autopsy report on Michael Brown’s body. They want to hear that Officer Wilson has been taken into custody. They want to hear that his vehicle has been impounded. They want to hear an apology from the Ferguson Police Department. They want answers about why they were treated like terrorists. I’m pretty sure they didn’t ask for a curfew, and I’m pretty damn sure they don’t need one. They want their concerns to be heard and actually listened to.
Margaret Huang, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA, disagrees with the curfew.
“It’s clear that the community doesn’t feel heard,” Huang says. “It’s hard to build trust when the governor won’t meet with community members and restricts their movements with a curfew. The people of Ferguson should not have their rights further restricted.”
The Governor is treating the citizens of Ferguson like they have done something wrong. They are the ones that have been acting peacefully. The Ferguson PD are the ones who have acted aggressively, unnecessarily deploying force and treating protesters like criminals (which I doubt they’d have done if it were a group of white people). This curfew will accomplish nothing more than to inflame tensions between the community of Ferguson and government officials.
The curfew was apparently enforced by the use of smoke gas, though some reports claim tear gas was used. Speaking of tear gas, it is a chemical weapon and has been banned in war:
Despite its ubiquity across the globe and in United States, tear gas is a chemical agent banned in warfare per the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, which set forth agreements signed by nearly every nation in the world — including the United States. The catch, however, is that while it’s illegal in war, it’s legal in domestic riot control. That means Turkey got to use it on its protesters last year. That meant Bahrain got to the do the same. And now, in Ferguson, cops are likewise blasting residents protesting the police for the killing of an unarmed teen named Michael Brown.
“I was just trying to get to my sister’s house,” one 23-year-old sobbed on his lawn, according to this harrowing report by The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery, who was arrested by police Wednesday. The man said police had pelted him with rubber bullets and sprayed his face with tear gas.
Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson has defended the use of tear gas. “There are complaints about the response from some people,” he said, “but to me, nobody got hurt seriously, and I’m happy about that.”
While that appears to have held true as of Thursday morning, some scientists and international observers contend the tactic of spraying people with tear gas, which commonly uses the chemical agent 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS), can pose serious dangers. “Tear gas under the Geneva Convention is characterized as a chemical warfare agent, and so it is precluded for use in warfare, but it is used very frequently against civilians,” Sven-Eric Jordt, a nerve gas expert at Yale University School of Medicine, explained to National Geographic. “That’s very illogical.”
Technically not a gas, Jordt said, tear gas is an aerosol. “Tear gases are nerve gases that specifically activate pain-sensing nerves,” Jordt told National Geographic. And when used properly, in lower doses and deployed in open spaces, its effects are more or less harmless. Those affected sneeze and cough and panic — and may even temporarily go blind — but those symptoms subside after several hours. A 2003 study found there “is no evidence that a healthy individual will experience long-term health effects from open-air exposures to CS or CR, although contamination with CR is less easy to remove.”
But sometimes things don’t go as planned. “The use of tear gas in … situations of civil unrest, however, demonstrates that exposure to the weapon is difficult to control and indiscriminate, and the weapon is often not used correctly,” wrote Howard Hu in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1989. “Severe traumatic injury from exploding tear gas bombs as well as lethal toxic injury have been documented.” Hu found that if exposed to “high levels of CS,” some victims experienced heart failure or even death. “An infant exposed to CS in a house into which police had fired CS canisters to subdue a mentally disturbed adult developed severe pneumonitis requiring therapy with steroids, oxygen, antibiotics, and 29 days of hospitalization.”
I’m sorry, but if tear gas has been banned in war, it should not be used in conditions that are less extreme than wartime, like say, during non violent protests (for that matter, even if it were a violent protest, tear gas still shouldn’t be used).
Unfortunately, law enforcement was needed after the curfew went into effect. One person was shot and seven people were arrested.
Gun violence, tear gas and armored vehicles marked the first night of a controversial curfew imposed in this St. Louis suburb where the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager has kicked over a cauldron of frustration and anger.
What some hoped would be an evening of calm was instead one of chaos that ended with a shooting victim, seven arrests and an early morning heavy rain that finally helped clear the streets.
Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said early Sunday that a large force was deployed amid a curfew and protests in Ferguson after police received a report that an unknown assailant shot a person.
More Twitter comments and updates:
Very angry young man w face confronts Ron Johnson, screaming, demanding answers. “You deserve answers,” Johnson says. “You will get them.”
Malik Shabazz, worki
ng w/New Black Panther Party: “At 11:30 when I say move out, move out. They have 3,000 men ready. I don’t want you hurt”
Very thin numbers as the curfew nears. Community leaders have been talking to the young guys. Many have already left.
BREAKING: One person shot and seven arrested in after curfew, officials say
Police defend use of tear gas as “proper response” to their car being shot at in , Missouri
BBC News US
Here are the faces of the people of , cleaning up their community this morning
Ryan J. Reilly