Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) issued a statement early Thursday mornng describing the situation in the city of Ferguson as “deeply troubling.” Protesters in the city have been demonstrating since Saturday after police killed an unarmed black teenager. Law enfrocement officers have responded with rubber bullets and tear gas and Nizon has been criticised for his reaction.
“The worsening situation in Ferguson is deeply troubling, and does not represent who we are as Missourians or as Americans,” Nixon said. “While we all respect the solemn responsibility of our law enforcement officers to protect the public, we must also safeguard the rights of Missourians to peaceably assemble and the rights of the press to report on matters of public concern.”
On Wednesday, two reporters were arrester when SWAT teams attempted to disperse a peaceful protest in Ferguson. Police in the city have said the 18-year-old who was killed, Michael Brown, was attempting to attack the officer who shot him. Protesters have accused police in Ferguson of widespread racial profiling. Two reporters were arrested while attempting to cover the protests Wednesday evening
Prior to his statement, Nixon, who commented on other local events, had been accused of having an inadequte response to the events in Ferguson on Wednesday.
“I have been closely monitoring the situation and will continue to be in communication with local leaders, and I will be in north St. Louis County tomorrow. As Governor, I am committed to ensuring the pain of last weekend’s tragedy does not continue to be compounded by this ongoing crisis,” said Nixon. “Once again, I ask that members of the community demonstrate patience and calm while the investigation continues, and I urge law enforcement agencies to keep the peace and respect the rights of residents and the press during this difficult time.”
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