[JURIST] Missouri Governor Jay Nixon [official website] on Saturday signed an executive order [text] declaring a state of emergency and ordering a curfew in the city of Ferguson. The order is an effort to protect the public peace [press release] within the city after protesters took to the streets to speak out against the shooting of Michael Brown. Michael Brown was an African American teenager who was recently shot and killed by Ferguson police after he was purported to have robbed a convenience store. Many Ferguson residents believe the killing was racially motivated and have initiated protests, which officials fear could lead to rioting and crime. Currently, the FBI, US Attorney General for the Eastern District of Missouri Richard G. Callahan and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Molly Moran [official websites] have announced [JURIST report] the next steps in the federal civil rights investigation into the killing of Michael Brown in Missouri. Governor Nixon stated in his press conference on Saturday that he is “committed to making sure the forces of peace and justice prevail” and that he will “continue to push for those answers, and demand transparency and accountability and expediency.” The curfew begins at midnight and ends at 5 AM.
Following the shooting of Trayvon Martin [JURIST news archive], an unarmed black teenager, in Florida in 2012 the US has confronted the issue [JURIST report] of racial profiling by police units, and the recent killing of Brown has reinvigorated similar concerns. On Thursday the parents of Trayon Martin and a similar victim addressed racial discrimination [ACLU report] in the US before the UN. On Tuesday the FBI opened a probe [WSJ report] into the shooting. On Monday the US Attorney General released a statement [press release] declaring the investigation of the Brown shooting will receive a “fulsome review.” Also last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy websites] issued reports [JURIST report] alleging the use of police force and intimidation tactics to dispel largely nonviolent protestors following the shooting threatens constitutional freedoms. In late June the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] published a report [JURIST report] arguing that increased militarization of police forces is putting citizens at risk rather than protecting them.