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2014-08-18

Missouri Deploys National Guard to Ferguson; Autopsy Shows Police Shot Michael Brown 6 Times

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A private autopsy report has found that Michael Brown — the African-American teenager killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri — was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. Meanwhile, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered the National Guard into Ferguson after another night of protests over the shootings. In a statement, Nixon said he chose to activate the National Guard because of "deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent acts." For the past two nights, police have tried to enforce a five-hour curfew starting at midnight. On Sunday night, local police fired tear gas, smoke canisters and rubber bullets in an attempt to clear the streets before the curfew began. Police accused some protesters of throwing Molotov cocktails and trying to overrun the police command center. Earlier in the day on Sunday, 1,300 people packed the Greater Grace Church for a rally attended by Michael Brown’s parents. We air an excerpt of speeches made at this event.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: A private autopsy report found that Michael Brown, the black teenager killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, was shot at least six times. Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York, said Brown was shot twice in the head and four times in the arm. Baden said the bullets did not appear to have been fired from very close range. Baden was asked to perform the autopsy by Brown’s family. On Sunday, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would conduct its own autopsy.

Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard into Ferguson early this morning after another night of protests over the shooting. In a statement, Governor Nixon said he chose to activate the National Guard because of, quote, "deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent acts," he said.

Community outrage grew over the weekend after the Ferguson police named the officer who shot Brown—Darren Wilson—after withholding his identity for more than five days. For the past two nights, police have tried to enforce a five-hour curfew starting at midnight. On Sunday night, local police fired tear gas, smoke canisters, rubber bullets in an attempt to clear the streets before the curfew began. The police fired into a crowd that included parents with their children. Police accused some protesters of throwing Molotov cocktails and trying to overrun the police command center.

Earlier in the day, 1,300 people packed the Greater Grace Church for a rally attended by Michael Brown’s parents. Brown’s cousin Ty Pruitt addressed the crowd.

TY PRUITT: So, before I say anything, [raises hands in air]. I just wanted to kick it off like that, because what I want you all to remember is that Michael Brown was not just some young black boy. He was a human being. He was a younger cousin. He was a son. He was an uncle, a nephew. He was not a suspect. He was not an object. He was not an animal. But that’s how he was killed. This [raises hands in air] was the last actions that our family member made before he put his—before he went to rest. This [raises hands in air] will be stuck in my family’s memories for the rest of our lives. So when you protest, [raises hands in air].

CROWD: Hands up! Don’t shoot!

TY PRUITT: Love for all y’all.

AMY GOODMAN: Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson was one of the first to address the family at the church service.

CAPTAIN RON JOHNSON: I start off by talking to Michael Brown’s family. And I want you to know, my heart goes out to you. And I say that I’m sorry. I wear this uniform, and I should stand up here and say that I’m sorry.

AMY GOODMAN: Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson went on to talk about his own son.

CAPTAIN RON JOHNSON: Because when this is over, I’m going to go in my son’s room, my black son, who wears his pants sagging, wears his hat cocked to the side, got tattoos on his arms, but that’s my baby. And we all ought to be thanking the Browns for Michael, because Michael is going to make it better for our sons so they can be better black men, so they can be better for our daughters so they can be better black women, better for me so I can be a better black father, and we know they’re going to make our mamas even better than they are today. Let’s continue to show this nation who we are, continue to show this country who we are. But when these days are over, these days are over and Mike Brown’s family is still weeping and they’re still on their knees praying, no matter what positive comes in our lives, we still need to get on our knees, and we need to pray. We need to thank Mike for his life. We need to thank him for the change that he is going to make and to make us better. I love you, I stand tall with you, and I’ll see you out there. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: The rally was broadcast live on MSNBC. Hours later, Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson was in the streets of Ferguson speaking to reporters about the police response to the protests.

CAPTAIN RON JOHNSON: Tonight, a Sunday that started with prayers and messages of unity, peace and justice, took a very different turn after dark. Molotov cocktails were thrown. There were shootings, looting, vandalism and other acts of violence that clearly appear not to have been spontaneous, but premeditated criminal acts designed to damage property, hurt people and provoke a response. The catalyst was not civil disobedience, but preplanned agitation and aggression, coordinated in many cases.

AMY GOODMAN: Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson speaking in the streets of Ferguson. When we come back, we go directly to St. Louis to join guests. Stay with us.

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