We’re going to wrap up our live blog coverage for the time being. We will continue to post updates throughout the evening on our home page.
Here’s a summary of where things stand:
• St Louis County police have created an “organized protest zone” as people gather for another night of demonstrations.
• US president Barack Obama loosely addressed racial disparities in the US criminal justice system while making remarks about Ferguson on Monday. “You have young men of color in many communities who are more likely to end up in jail or the criminal justice system, then they are in a good job or college,” Obama said.
• He also said multiple times that one of the great things about the US is how it distinguishes its military from local law enforcement. He said it may be worth it to review the government’s controversial grant program that allows local law enforcement agencies to use excess military equipment.
• Attorney general Eric Holder is heading to Ferguson on Wednesday, said Obama. He will be there to meet with department of justice and FBI investigators who are already working in Ferguson. The two met earlier on Monday during a break from his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. “I realize there is tremendous interest in the facts of the incident that led to Michael Brown’s death, but I ask for the public’s patience as we conduct this investigation,” Holder said in a statement released after their meeting.
• State governor Jay Nixon abandoned the curfew for Monday night. Despite a curfew being in place on Sunday night from 12am to 5pm, it was largely considered the most intense night of action thus far.
• Missouri’s national guard arrived in Ferguson on Monday after governor Nixon called for their deployment in the early hours of the morning. He said they would be working alongside law enforcement who have been monitoring the unrest for the past eight days.
• A Pew study released on Monday shows that black and white adults in the US have “sharply different reactions” to the shooting of Michael Brown. Of the 1,000 adults surveyed, 80% of black people said the story raises important issues about race, while 37% of white people felt that way.
Updated at 6.25pm ET
Reporter Chris Campbell spoke with a friend of Barbara Spradling, the girlfriend of the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, officer Darren Wilson. The friend said that Wilson admits he shot Brown in the head.
However, Wilson’s version of events, as told through Spradling to the friend, contradicts aspects of the accounts given by some other eyewitnesses, including Dorian Johnson, a friend of Brown who was with him when he was stopped, minutes after the pair were allegedly involved in a robbery at a convenience store.
There appears to be little dispute that a struggle took place, though the pathologists who carried out the autopsy for Brown’s family said Monday their preliminary finding was that Brown’s body showed no evidence of one. The account provided by police, given in the hours after the shooting, is that Wilson stopped Brown and Johnson for walking down the middle of the street when they should have been on the sidewalk.
Spradling told the friend who spoke to the Guardian that Brown initiated the altercation by striking Wilson in the face, leading to a struggle for Wilson’s gun that resulted in one shot being fired in the police vehicle.
Police create "organized protest zone"
St Louis County police department has created “an organized protest zone” for demonstrators to contain themselves in after eight nights of protests across the city’s streets. A media staging area will be across from the protest zone as law enforcement attempt to control the situation. The police department explained the zones in a statement:
An organized protest zone is being established at Ferguson and W. Florissant. Media can stay at existing media staging area, or move to new media staging area which will be across the street from the protest zone. This will put the media on the shoulder of the road, across the street on W. Florissant from the protest zone. Please be patient with us as we make this transition.
Also, W. Florissant will be closed to through traffic within the hour. As always, advise road blocks by showing media credentials for access.
US attorney general Eric Holder released a statement on Monday following his meeting with Barack Obama about Ferguson and provided details on the department of justice’s investigation into the shooting.
“I realize there is tremendous interest in the facts of the incident that led to Michael Brown’s death, but I ask for the public’s patience as we conduct this investigation,” Holder said. “The selective release of sensitive information that we have seen in this case so far is troubling to me. No matter how others pursue their own separate inquiries, the Justice Department is resolved to preserve the integrity of its investigation. This is a critical step in restoring trust between law enforcement and the community, not just in Ferguson, but beyond.
Holder said an additional medical examination of Brown’s body is being performed today by “one of the most experienced medical examiners in the United States military.”
More than 40 FBI agents are canvassing the neighborhood where Michael Brown was shot and several interviews have been conducted.
“In order to truly begin the process of healing, we must also see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson,” Holder said. “Those who have been peacefully demonstrating should join with law enforcement in condemning the actions of looters and others seeking to enflame tensions.
Video of Barack Obama’s afternoon press conference on the situation in Ferguson. Obama called on protesters to be peaceful and said attorney general Eric Holder will be in Ferguson on Wednesday.
State violence created street violence in Ferguson, says Guardian columnist Gary Younge. He said statements about criminal acts by protesters ignore the nature, scale and source of the problem:
Nobody in their right mind wants more violent protests. But nobody wants more Michael Browns either. And those two things – the violence of the state and the violence of the street – are connected. “A riot,” said Martin Luther King, “is the language of the unheard.” The people on the streets don’t donate thousands of dollars to anyone’s campaign. They don’t get a seat at any table where decisions are made or have the ear of the powerful. But with four black men killed by the police in the country in the last four weeks, they have a lot to say, and precious few avenues through which to say it. The question now is who’s listening.
Some observers were critical of Obama’s remarks, which went in circles at times as he tried to avoid showing any bias in the Michael Brown case.
Obama addresses racial disparities in US criminal justice system
“In too many communities around this country young men of color are left behind and seen as objects of fear,” Obama said. He repeatedly touted his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which was created to address the opportunity gap men of color face in the US.
“You have young men of color in many communities who are more likely to end up in jail or the criminal justice system, then they are in a good job or college,” Obama said.
“We’ve made extraordinary progress, but it’s not enough,” he said.
“Part of this is looking at our criminal justice to make sure it is upholding the principle that everyone is equal before the law,” Obama said.
“Given the history of this country, where we can build up by making more confidence, more trust, making sure that our criminal justice system is acutely aware of the possibilities of disparities in treatment.”
“In too many communities in this country, a gulf exists between the community and law enforcement,” Obama said.
“I think one of the great things about the United States is the ability to maintain a distinction between our military and domestic law enforcement,” Obama said. “That helps protect our civil liberties.”
A reporter asked Obama about the government’s grant program that allows local law enforcement agencies to use excess military equipment. Images of armored vehicles rolling down the streets of Ferguson, which has a population of about 21,000 people, have renewed criticism for this program.
“I think it’s probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone,” Obama said. “How local law enforcement has used local grant dollars to make sure they are purchasing stuff they actually need. There is a difference between the military and local law enforcement and we don’t want those lines blurred.”
Attorney general Eric Holder to visit Ferguson on Wednesday
President Barack Obama is providing updates on the situation in Ferguson from the White House briefing room as he takes a brief break from his vacation. He met with attorney general Eric Holder earlier today to get updates on the situation.
He said he also spoke with governor Jay Nixon and other local politicians earlier today.
The justice department has opened an independent civil rights investigation into the shooting. Holder is traveling to Ferguson on Wednesday to meet with FBI and department of justice employees currently on the ground working on the investigation.
“We have all seen images of protestors and law enforcements in the streets, it’s clear that the vast majority of people are peacefully protesting,” Obama said. “What is also clear is that a small minority are not.”
The national guard is first and foremost a state agency which is why Missouri governor Jay Nixon was reportedly able to activate the troops without running it by the White House. The Guardian’s Lauren Gambino has more on what the national guard is and when it gets called up:
In 1992 California national guard forces were called in to regain control of Los Angeles after riots erupted when four white officers were acquitted of severely beating a black man, Rodney King. President George HW Bush then declared it a federal disaster area and called the guard into federal service. More than 50 people died and nearly 2,000 people were injured before the troops eventually quelled the situation.
Jim Craig, an associate professor of military and veteran studies at the University of Missouri-St Louis, questioned whether the presence of the national guard would be effective in Ferguson. “The National Guard by design is militarised, and so that doesn’t theoretically de-escalate the situation. It actually may change the dynamic.”
Missouri highway patrolman Ron Johnson said that law enforcement has a plan to maintain resident safety tonight. “We will also ensure that peaceful protests will be allowed in the city of Ferguson,” Johnson said.
“We will not allow vandals, criminal elements to impact the safety and security of this community,” Johnson said.
Missouri National Guard general Greg Mason said that his soldiers are well-trained, well-seasoned and well-resourced.
President Barack Obama is due to speak at any minute.
Volunteers are handing out water, food and diapers near the scene of the Mike Brown shooting. Earlier today, the local chapter of the NAACP said the government should be providing assistance to families who live in the areas which have seen the most protest action.
A Pew study released on Monday shows that black and white adults in the US have “sharply different reactions” to the shooting of Michael Brown. Of the 1,000 adults surveyed:
• 80% of black people said the story raises important issues about race, while 37% of white people felt that way.
• 65% of black people think the police response to protests is too much, while 33% of white people felt that way.
• 18% of black people said they have a “great deal/fair amount” of confidence in the investigations into the shooting, while 53% of white people felt that way.
More white people thought the issue of race was getting too much attention in July 2013 after a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Then, 28% of white people said the story raised important issues about race, compared to the 37% who feel that way about the Michael Brown shooting.
Police are arresting people outside of McDonalds, where Jesse Jackson spoke earlier today.
President Barack Obama is slated to make a statement on Ferguson and Iraq at 4pm ET/3pm CT. He took a break from his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard to meet with attorney general Eric Holder earlier today.
St Louis mayor Francis Slay said he supports the governor’s decision to bring the national guard into the city.
Medical examiner Michael Baden said Michael Brown could have survived all of the gun shots he suffered except for one that hit the top of his head, reports The Guardian’s Jon Swaine, who has been in Ferguson for eight days.
Dr Michael Baden, who carried out the autopsy, said that “there weren’t signs of a struggle” on Brown’s body. Police have said that Brown assaulted Wilson after the officer stopped him and a friend and told them to walk on the sidewalk rather than in the road on 9 August.
However Baden, the former chief medical examiner for New York City, was more cautious than the lawyers, stating that the findings in his preliminary report “could be consistent” with suggestions that Brown had been shot while charging at Wilson. “It’s possible,” he said.
“There are many different witness testimonies,” said Baden. “Many seem to line up in one direction, some in another direction. Right now until we get more information we can’t, from a forensic science point of view, can’t distinguish and can’t make an absolute judgment.”
Guardian columnist Steven Thrasher is also on the ground in Ferguson. He spoke with children there about the unrest.
When I asked six-year-old Amor, who wants to be a firefighter and who lives here in Ferguson, Missouri, what he thinks of the police, he said, “They shoot people.”
The children of Ferguson have an especially painful – and unfairly adult – task before them: they must make sense of the death of one of their peers, Michael Brown, and deal with the fallout from the protests, violence and militarized police presence that has, in many ways, quickly come to define their young lives in the week since Brown’s violent death at the hands of a local police officer.
The police response to protests in Ferguson has affected children as much as the death itself. Amor’s 11-year-old brother, Tavier, told me, “They shouldn’t shoot people for protesting.” Sitting over pizza just a few blocks from the Ferguson Police Department, he added, “As I was getting older, I thought police were nice people, and as I’m getting older, I’m thinking they’re so-so. They’re still good people, but they’re judging us now.”
President Barack Obama’s plan to break from his vacation and return to Washington for official meetings was hatched more than four days before the lethal police shooting in Ferguson that came to overshadow so much of his first week in Martha’s Vineyard.
But unforeseen as it must have been, the opportunity to deal with the crisis from the White House rather than the backdrop of golf courses and beaches presents a chance for the president to inject greater urgency into the administration’s response.
For despite protestations to the contrary from his advisers, the president has at times appeared far removed from events unfolding on the streets of Ferguson.
Missouri governor Jay Nixon has abandoned the curfew in Ferguson as the national guard assists the government’s response to the protests.
“Last night, Ferguson, Missouri experienced a very difficult and dangerous night as a result of a violent criminal element intent upon terrorizing the community,” Nixon said in a statement. “As long as there are vandals and looters and threats to the people and property of Ferguson, we must take action to protect our citizens.”
“The Guard’s immediate and limited responsibilities under the direction of colonel Ron Replogle of the Missouri state highway patrol, are to provide protection, and ensure the safety of our Unified Command Center, which was the target last night of a coordinated attack. The Guard will concentrate its resources on carrying out this limited mission.”
He said that with these additional resources, the law enforcement agencies already operating in Ferguson will continue to respond to the protests. Missouri national guard brigadier general Gregory Mason is overseeing guard operations in Ferguson under the overall command of the state’s highway patrol.
The St Louis City chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held a press conference on Monday afternoon about the protests. The group has been working with the department of justice since day one of the protests and is also liaising with Michael Brown’s family.
Chapter president Adolphus Pruitt called for government officials to provide resources to businesses and social services to families in the protest zones. He said the families “already, socio-economically, are not at the highest level” and probably need the most help out of anyone affected. He also requested that the local police “enlighten us to what’s happening with the investigation.”
“Number one, we need the investigation to conclude and for justice to Mike Brown to occur,” Pruitt said. He said his other priorities included getting children back into school and ending the chaos that has overtaken Ferguson’s streets.
He said pictures of tear gas and armored vehicles against protesters has “haunted all of us,” and was concerned what would happen next if order is not restored. “The next image I see is African American men taking on the American armed forces directly, that is not the image we want to see,” said Pruitt.
As our live blog coverage continues, here’s a summary of where things stand:
• Sunday was the eighth, and most intense, night of protests since unarmed teenager Michael Brown was killed by police on 9 August. Witnesses reported the use of tactical equipment including stun grenades, bricks and gas bombs.
• Missouri governor Jay Nixon has called in the state’s national guard to assist with the government’s response to the conflict in Ferguson. He did not tell the president he was calling in the troops, according to reports.
• Attorneys for Michael Brown’s family and the forensic scientists who conducted a private, preliminary autopsy on his body spoke at a press conference on Monday morning. Medical examiner Michael Baden said more information is needed to determine the circumstances around Brown’s death, but was able to confirm that Brown was struck by six bullets, including two to his head.
• The US Department of Justice said on Sunday that it would be conducting its own autopsy with a federal medical examiner. Baden said this is an unusual moved for the federal government but speaks to the civil rights issues at hand in the case.
• Brown’s mother said in an interview with ABC News that Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed her son, needed to be held accountable for his actions if order it to be restored in Ferguson.
• The Ferguson-Florissant school district postponed the first day of school for the second time in one week because of social unrest in the community. The district said its concerns include “children walking to school or waiting for buses on streets impacted by this activity, debris on the roads that could impact transportation.”
The mother of Michael Brown said that the police officer who shot and killed her son must be held accountable for his actions to restore order in Ferguson in an interview with ABC News on Monday. No charges have been filed against the officer, Darren Wilson, who reportedly left town before his name was released.
“Arresting this man and making him accountable for his actions; that’s justice,” said his mother, Lesley McSpadden.
McSpadden said she spoke Sunday with Missouri state highway patrolman Ron Johnson, who was brought in as part of an attempt to subdue the protests.
“He had a heartfelt message for me, and it was that that could have been his son, and he was sorry, and he’s, like everybody else, supporting and hoping and praying that this doesn’t happen again,” McSpadden said.
Missouri governor Jay Nixon did not tell the White House that he was calling in the national guard, an administration official was reported to have told journalists on Monday, reports The Guardian’s Dan Roberts.
“Folks didn’t know,” BuzzFeed quoted one administration official as revealing. “The White House did not know they were sending it in.”
Though not required by law because Missouri guard troops are under the command of state governor Jay Nixon, a lack of prior warning would be an embarrassment to the president who has repeatedly stressed how his administration is paying close attention to the way local authorities are handling the crisis despite it falling during the president’s vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.
Attorney general Eric Holder had previously urged a demilitarisation of the response by police in Ferguson, allegedly telling his deputies on Thursday to “tell them to remove the damn tanks”, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Six separate arms of Holder’s Department of Justice are involved in the crisis, including a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into possible civil rights violations in the killing of Michael Brown, and Holder is due to give Obama an update on the situation in the White House on Monday afternoon as both men returned to Washington for meetings.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests on Monday to clarify how much warning it had received of governor Nixon’s decision on Sunday night to request a national guard deployment in Ferguson.
Reporters have been monitoring a Missouri national guard base all morning following state governor Jay Nixon’s order to deploy its troops to Ferguson. They are reporting that the first round of Humvees are leaving the base.
The Ferguson-Florissant school district postponed the first day of school for the second time in a week on Sunday night, due to the unrest in Ferguson.
“Information we have received from officials on the scene late Sunday evening has contributed to concerns we have about children walking to school or waiting for buses on streets impacted by this activity, debris on the roads that could impact transportation, and continued disruption affecting our students and families in the area,” the district said on its website.
Classes were supposed to begin last week, but the start day was postponed to Monday, 18 August. The district announced last night that classes would not be in session today.
Al-Jazeera America examined how geographic, cultural and economic segregation has affected St Louis and the suburb of Ferguson. Cynthia Broadway, an African-American Ferguson resident who has been at the protests, told Al-Jazeera she has never trusted white people.
I genuinely never thought white people cared that much about us. I always thought white people looked down at us, thought we didn’t want to work and weren’t good enough, no matter how much we dressed up. I guess I’ve kind of built up not a dislike but a stand-off type of thing, because the city is so divided. North is black, and south and west are white. I really don’t interact with white people unless it’s business. And I’ve grown up like this my entire life.
Baden said that it is unusual for the federal government to get involved in cases like Brown’s and that they are conducting an independent autopsy speaks to the civil rights issues at hand in the case.
“Rarely, as I recall, has the president got involved,” said Baden, who has been a forensic pathologist for more than fifty years.
He said the defense should be provided access to Michael Brown’s clothing, which would be useful for the autopsy because it could be tested for things like bullet powder residue. More forensic information is needed before the accuracy of witnesses testimonies could be determined.
Baden said “there weren’t signs of a struggle,” and abrasions on the right side of Brown’s face likely occurred after he was shot and fell to the ground.
Medical examiner Dr Michael Baden, who conducted the preliminary autopsy and was the chief medical examiner in New York City, said it is common for families of people killed by police to seek a private autopsy because of distrust in government officials. He said that the chief medical examiner in St Louis is “an excellent forensic pathologist,” but emphasized the need to release information on the autopsy.
“What we found in New York City, is the sooner the information goes out, the sooner the family is talked to – the family has a right to know how their loved one died – this calms the community,” Baden said.
“Very simple things are found on day one of the autopsy,” he said. Baden said information about how many bullet wounds the victim received and how much suffering they endured, typically the primary concerns of the family, can be determined on day one.
Michael Brown’s family, their attorneys and the medical examiner who conducted a preliminary autopsy on behalf of Brown’s family, are speaking to press at Greater St Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St Louis.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the family of Michael Brown, said that more witness accounts were needed to provide the full story of Brown’s shooting.
“What does this preliminary account [the autopsy] tell us? That the witness accounts were true,” Crump said. “That he was shot multiple times.”
He said the family wanted a private autopsy performed because they did not want the only autopsy to be conducted by St Louis law enforcement agencies “– the same officials they think are responsible for executing their son in broad daylight,” said Crump.
He stressed that it was a preliminary report, but answered the family’s first question about their son’s death: “how many times was he shot?” He was shot at least six times, according to the autopsy.
The Guardian’s Jon Swaine and Rory Carroll are in Ferguson reporting on the protests. Their latest dispatch includes details on the use of high-pitched sirens and stun grenades during the overnight protests as people looted stores and vandalized buildings:
Police drove protesters with more gas northwards towards a burned out petrol station that was looted last Sunday. Some protesters smashed the windows of a hair salon and a storage facility as they passed. Then a burst of gunfire was heard over the road from the petrol station, sending people scrambling to the ground.
Protesters said they had no intention of backing down. “This is a revo-fucking-lution,” said DeAndre Smith, a 30-year-old barber. “Plain and simple, this is the revolution. The one everybody was waiting on. It happened like this. It’s the gain in culture by a people who want respect. African American people in this country.
“I been out here since day one. I was on the frontline. Mike Brown was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That’s when we said this is enough. That’s it.”
Following a standoff at the petrol station, police sent remaining demonstrators scrambling into side streets by speeding at them in armoured Swat trucks, firing yet more gas and smoke at people running away. The trucks continued driving up and down the main street doing this until it was cleared. As some reached a branch of Domino’s pizza, there were two more bursts of gunshots.
Each of the at least six bullets shot at Michael Brown were fired at the front of his body, according preliminary autopsy results reported by The New York Times on Sunday night.
The bullets did not appear to be fired from close range, according to the report by Dr Michael M Baden, the former chief medical examiner for New York City who was flown into Missouri at the request of Brown’s family. He said that the close range assessment could be amended if there is gunshot residue on Brown’s clothing, which Baden did not have access to.
Baden said more information was needed to determine the context of the shooting.
“This one here looks like his head was bent downward,” Baden said, indicating the wound at the very top of Brown’s head. “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”
Baden, Brown’s family and their attorney are set to host a press conference at 9:30am CST/10:30am ET.
Ferguson community members are cleaning up debris from the overnight protests and police action, which left gas canisters, broken bottles and bricks cluttering the streets.
In spite of a governor-determined 12am to 5am curfew, people were on the streets from Sunday night into early Monday morning. Some chanted “No justice! No curfew!” as police in armored tactical vehicles ordered them to disperse, according to the AP.
Police fired teargas and rubber bullets into crowd, as some protesters threw gas cans back at police. Some protesters carried bricks and bottles through the streets to throw at officers, while others looted businesses. Officials said protesters also threw molotov cocktails, though people disputed these claims.
Welcome to our live coverage on the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. State governor Jay Nixon said early Monday morning that the National Guard is to be deployed to Ferguson following a week of protests in response to the shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
The announcement was made following the eighth, and most intense, night of unrest since Brown was killed on 9 August. Nixon said in the order that he was directing troops to the northern suburb of St Louis because of the “deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson.”
“These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory, and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served, and to feel safe in their own homes.”
As gunfire rang through the city on Sunday night and police used teargas and rubber bullets on crowds, The New York Times reported the results of a preliminary autopsy of Brown’s body, showing that police officer Darren Wilson shot Brown at least six times, including twice in the head.
The Department of Justice said on Sunday it is taking the unusual step of ordering a third autopsy by a federal medical examiner. The agency is also leading a civil-rights investigation into the killing.
We’ll be providing updates as the story develops throughout the day.
Updated at 9.43am ET
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