Missouri Governor Summons More National Guard, Empanels Ferguson Commission

Missouri state Rep. Brandon Ellington (D) said Monday the caucus of African-American lawmakers he chairs supported the protesters in the streets of Ferguson “100 percent” as long as they remained peaceful.

“The Missouri Legislative Black Caucus stands in solidarity with those who choose to protest peacefully,” Ellington said in a statement released by the caucus.

“We urge all governmental bodies and law enforcement agencies to respect the constitutional, civil and human rights of those who protest peacefully,” he added.

Ellington criticized previous police action in the streets of Ferguson and decisions made by Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.) to send National Guard troops to the city.

“As a caucus we denounce the militarization of the police and have voiced our concerns to the governor about the National Guard’s presence preemptively in the city of Ferguson,” Ellington said in the statement.

Ellington won’t like this.

Gov. Nixon is sending even more National Guard troops to Ferguson.

The morning after rioting broke out in Ferguson following the grand jury decision not to press charges against Officer Darren Wilson, Nixon’s office issued a statement saying the new troops would provide security at the Ferguson Police Department.

What some see as a militarized response to the Ferguson rioting is only part of Nixon’s strategy.

He has tried to do more than just put National Guard troops in the streets of Ferguson, where the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the grand jury’s decision not to prosecute sparked rioting.

Nixon appointed 16 people to the newly established Ferguson Commission on Nov. 18.

The panel, which includes civic, religious, business and government leaders from the Ferguson area, is charged with studying the underlying issues raised by events in Ferguson and issuing a report with specific policy recommendations no later than Sept. 15, 2015.

“While they are clearly a diverse group, they are united by their shared passion to promote understanding, to hasten healing, to ensure equal opportunities in education and employment, and to safeguard the civil rights of all our citizens,” Nixon said.

Richard McClure, co-chairman of the Ferguson Commission, said Brown’s shooting has exposed the problems faced by those who live in the Ferguson area.

“The significant challenges we face as a region have been vividly exposed by events in Ferguson. Committed and thoughtful citizens must identify necessary actions to take and polices that have to change,” said McClure.