Posted by: coastcontact | August 17, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri on Meet the Press

On NPR this past Thursday there was a history professor talking about the fact that Missouri was a slave state and that has impacted the behavior of Whites ever since. I couldn’t believe what the man was saying. His justification of the behavior of White police in Ferguson, Missouri.

The governor of Missouri appeared on most of the Sunday morning TV talk shows. He wasn’t prepared to answer any questions. The word Obfuscation comes to mind.  Following is the transcript from Meet the Press of his interview by Andrea Mitchell.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

I’m joined now by the governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon. Governor, thank you very much for being with us. Tell me, why has a full week elapsed, and we still do not know anything? The public wants answers to what happened between Michael Brown and the white officer who shot and killed him?

GOVERNOR JAY NIXON:

Well, it’s been a challenge week with the horrific death of Michael Brown, shot down in the streets of his home town and the appropriate energy and acts that everyone’s had around there. I think with the dual investigations going on right now with the justice department and with the local prosecutor, and I’m especially appreciative.

After talking to General Holder, I appreciated them sending in 40 additional F.B.I. agents to make sure that they’re moving to get a thorough investigation, to get justice here. And I appreciate their response and that energy to make sure that they get this right.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

But why is it taking so long? And you also have a county prosecutor who many say has a conflict of interest here, because he said that he disagrees strongly with your decisions in bringing the county police. He called it shameful, saying that that was in fact an illegal decision. So how is he the person that would be trusted by this very angry and eventful community to come with answers that are credible?

GOVERNOR JAY NIXON:

Well, he’s a seasoned prosecutor that has an opportunity to step up here and do his job. And also though, when you see a dual investigation going on, and the resources of the Justice Department, an F.B.I. agent’s out working in the community yet again yesterday, 40 additional officers, I think that having those dual investigations will help guarantee that this gets done in a timely fashion. That it’s done thoroughly, and that it gets justice.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Isn’t it more important to get answers, correct answers, and answers to the public? What of the timely investigation? What is taking so long about telling the people what happened to Michael Brown?

GOVERNOR JAY NIXON:

It’s been a week, and it’s a been a very long week. And late in the week, when we saw the additional militarization of the police response there and the security side, I had to take an unprecedented action, which was to replace and bring in our highway patrol to lead that. I think that that has made a big difference. You saw that first night, very much peace.

Second night, until late in night, there was peace. And last night, I think the vast majority of local citizens, the local elected officials and others called on me to put a curfew in place, so there’ll be guaranteed peace late last night. And of the thousands of protesters and the community members out there, I think they made a difference. In order to get justice, we need peace. Those are both intertwined here. And we look forward to keeping the peace and getting justice.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Well, governor, there was peace. There was peace on Thursday night after you appointed the county police to come in and take over. The state police, rather, their takeover from the county. But then the local police chief who released that video, what justifies releasing the video about the convenience store, while there’s still no details about what happened with the shooting itself? That is what caused everything to erupt again on Friday night and eventually led to the curfew having to be imposed.

GOVERNOR JAY NIXON:

Yeah, we and our security team and the highway patrol did not know that was going to be released. I don’t think the attorney general knew that. And quite frankly, we disagree deeply I think for two reasons. Number one, to attempt to in essence disparage the character of this victim, in the middle of a process like this is not right. It’s just not right. And secondarily, it did put the community and quite frankly the region and the nation on alert again. These are old wounds. These are deep wounds in these communities. And that action was not helpful.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Well, should the police chiefs, Chief Jackson then be fired or have to step down?

GOVERNOR JAY NIXON:

We’ve moved the highway patrol in to manage security. The Justice Department and the detectives in Saint Louis are doing the investigation. So he–

(OVERTALK)

ANDREA MITCHELL:

But he’s still, with all due respect governor, he’s still doing things, like releasing that video, without even reporting to the state police captain, Captain Johnson, who’s supposed to be in charge.

GOVERNOR JAY NIXON:

Yeah. Everyone can rest well assured that we’ve had very serious discussions about that action and how much we felt that it was not the right way to handle the victim’s family, which I had a chance to speak with. They were deeply troubled. And when you see your son gunned down in the street and then you see a police chief begin an attempt to attack his character.

That’s just not the way to operate. And we’ve made that clear to everyone. And our hope and expectation is that now that our folks are in charge of security, and we have these dual investigations going on, that, that bump is behind us, hopefully.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Well, governor–

GOVERNOR JAY NIXON:

But the wounds are very real.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Well, governor, I know that when you say that you were doing a lot of things behind the scenes, but why did it take you till Friday to get to Ferguson, what they call ground zero? And when did you first hear from the president about all this?

GOVERNOR JAY NIXON:

I’ve been involved all week. I’ve been having meetings and phone calls and meeting with local officials, been here a number of times. And once again, yesterday in the morning conference call with local officials have asked me to put a curfew in place, to make sure that we have safety as well as peace, so that this community could be safe.

So we’ve been here all week. I’ve been here most of the days. And I talked to the president in the middle part of the week. I talked to General Holder at some length later in the week, and I appreciate deeply, and actually that conversation, General Holder and the F.B.I. sending 40 additional F.B.I. officers in to make sure they’re getting a thorough but timely investigation here. And I think that’s helping.

ANDREA MITCHELL:

Thank you so much, Governor Nixon, from Missouri. While the events in Ferguson this week have certainly shocked the nation, focusing renewed attention on the nation’s disparity that still exists in our justice system. Our Kevin Tibbles takes a closer look at that situation.

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