[JURIST] Missouri Governor Jay Nixon [official website] on Monday issued an executive order [text] authorizing the Missouri National Guard [official website] to provide assistance in the city of Ferguson following a period of civil unrest that prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency [JURIST report] on Saturday. The order was issued in 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 Callahan and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Molly Moran [official websites] are carrying out a federal civil rights investigation [JURIST report].
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 discrimination by police units and civilians, and the recent killing of Brown has reinvigorated similar concerns. Last week the parents of Trayvon Martin and a similar victims addressed racial discrimination [ACLU report] in the US before the UN. Earlier last week 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.