Nixon says National Guard mission is “limited” in Ferguson; No curfew on Monday

After a week of protests and some violent riots in Ferguson following the police shooting of Michael Brown, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday signed an executive order to send in the Missouri National Guard to restore peace in the community.

“A day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk,” Nixon said in a statement early Monday morning. “I join the people of Ferguson, and all Missourians, in strongly condemning this criminal activity that included firing upon law enforcement officers, shooting a civilian, throwing Molotov cocktails, looting, and a coordinated attempt to block roads and overrun the Unified Command Center.”

“Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson, I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard to assist Colonel Ron Replogle and the Unified Command in restoring peace and order to this community,” he added.

Nixon had previously called to “demilitarize” the situation there, as local police deployed heavily armored teams over the past week.

*UPDATE* Nixon, in a statement later in the day on Monday, said the National Guard’s mission in Ferguson is “limited in scope” to protect the Unified Command Center led by the Missouri Highway Patrol. No curfew will be in place tonight.

“With these additional resources in place, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement will continue to respond appropriately to incidents of lawlessness and violence, and protect the civil rights of all peaceful citizens to make their voices heard,” he said.

“The Guard’s immediate and limited responsibilities under the direction of Colonel Ron Replogle of the Missouri State Highway Patrol,” he added.

Nixon’s announcement means military boots on the ground to assist the local and state police already combatting rioters. Nixon’s order allows the National Guard to move in equipment “in support of civilian authorities” at his direction. Nixon’s order allows the Missouri Highway Patrol to close streets in the city “to maintain peace and order.”

Nixon authorized the Missouri Highway Patrol to take over the policing of Ferguson on Thursday. Thursday night was peaceful, but the situation escalated on Friday after the Ferguson police department released a video of Brown allegedly stealing from a convenience store prior to his shooting (supporters of Brown believe the Ferguson police did that to distract from the release of the name of the officer who shot and killed brown).

As the protests enter their second week, two groups appear to be emerging in the protest.

“We want to protest in peace,” Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis, said on Monday on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. The problem? “There are a lot of angry young people — some wiling to give up their lives right now.”

“They’ve been hit time and time again with harassment and intimidation, a lot of these young people feel as though it’s fine to give up their lives right now. They’re taking away from the message and attend of those protesting in peace and trying to communicate we want to have a transparent investigation,” she said.

Chappelle-Nadal said one thing that could help de-escalate the suction would be placing Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown, in jail.

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