(Jefferson City) (AP) – As protests mounted following the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, so too did the public frustration directed at Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon – seemingly, no matter what action he took.
Public records obtained by The Associated Press show that Nixon received thousands of phone calls and hundreds of emails, letters and faxes from people throughout Missouri and the world in the weeks after the Aug. 9 shooting. Most of the correspondence was critical of the governor – first for not intervening quickly enough as armored police fired tear gas on protesters, then later for appearing to call for the prosecution of the white officer who shot the black 18-year-old while the investigation is ongoing.
The documents display a diversity of public outrage. Some people blamed Nixon for a heavy-handed police response to protesters. Others chided him for not publicly doing enough to support police. Some comments were crude and profane. Others offered advice on how to restore peace in the streets from people emphasizing their expertise.
Nixon said he read none of it – though his staff did – because he was so focused on getting the difficult situation under control.
“There aren’t a lot of ways to deal with shootings of this nature, conduct of this nature, that don’t touch a lot of very emotional, value-laden positions that Missourians hold,” Nixon told the AP.
From a public perception standpoint, “it’s kind of a no-win situation” for Nixon, said Eric Morris, an assistant communications professor at Missouri State University.
“There were substantial numbers of people with strong feelings on both sides of it, which means there’s literally no action you can take in the middle that’s not going to get you probably criticized,” Morris said.
The night after Brown’s death, peaceful protests turned violent as crowds looted stores and clashed with police. Those protests continued for days. Copies of Nixon’s daily schedule previously provided to the AP show that at first, he split his attention between dealing with the unrest in Ferguson and performing routine duties such as public appearances at schools and the State Fair.
“Your leadership is needed in St. Louis in light of the Michael Brown shooting. People are angry and hurt. Please consider a visit soon,” Elizabeth Macheca, of the St. Louis suburb of Brentwood, pleaded in an Aug. 12 message to the governor.
Nixon visited the area that night, participating in a community forum at a church.
But he continued to get messages urging him to intervene to restore peace. One woman, who said her adult daughter was at a friend’s nearby apartment when Brown was shot, wrote that she held Nixon “personally responsible for the chaos that has occurred.”
“Governor, your state looks like a war zone. Think you should be present in Ferguson to help diffuse the situation,” Kathy Grab, of Philadelphia, wrote as police confronted protesters the night of Aug. 13.
Nixon traveled to Ferguson the next day and put the Highway Patrol in charge of security instead of the local police. He got a few compliments – “Bravo … This is the most common sense decision that has been made,” wrote Laura Seithel, of the St. Louis suburb of Ballwin.
As the clashes continued, Nixon declared a state of emergency, imposed a curfew, lifted it and called in the National Guard to help protect the police command center. On the evening of Aug. 19, Nixon released a videotaped statement vowing “to protect the people of Ferguson” and stating: “A vigorous prosecution must now be pursued.”
The public reaction received by Nixon’s office was overwhelmingly negative. The call for “vigorous prosecution” is “an outrageous rush to judgment” against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, wrote George Little, of the St. Louis suburb of St. Peters.
Law enforcement officers and their families took particular offense to Nixon’s comments – “They were rude, biased and unwise,” wrote Fresno County, California, Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Curtice.
Nixon’s office issued a clarification that his words weren’t intended to prejudge the officer but to refer to the full duties of the prosecutor.
Yet Nixon was questioned about the statement last week by a student at a Boonville High School assembly.
“What I was trying to say, whether the words were aptly chosen or not, was that let’s get this process moving,” Nixon responded.
Morris said the governor’s “vigorous prosecution” comments were indicative of the challenge he faced trying to communicate with members of the public who have polar-opposite perceptions of police as worthy of distrust or respect.
“I don’t see how you’re going to get those two sides to come to much agreement about what the situation in Ferguson is, or what it represents,” he said.
(Ferguson) (AP) – Eight more people have been arrested following another night of protests in Ferguson.
No violence was reported from the Sunday night protest that was at times boisterous in the St. Louis suburb where unrest has been common in the month-and-a-half since 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a Ferguson police officer.
Protesters banged drums, pots and pans. Police said they would enforce a noise ordinance at 11 p.m., and police made a few arrests involving those who continued to make noise.
(West Plains) – The non-profit group Trillium Trust is holding a recruitment night this evening for a special upcoming program.
Kody Frasier, the Business Manager of Trillium Trust, told Ozark Radio News more about the venturing program:
Frasier says that the program, which focuses on seven aspects of development, is vital for those with developmental disabilities to do better in life:
If you would like more information about this evening’s meeting, you can call 417-204-5121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Jefferson City) – Gov. Jay Nixon arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday, September 27, as part of a delegation of four U.S. Governors that included Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Tennessee Gov. William Haslam.
This is the fourth trip to Afghanistan for Gov. Nixon, who is one of the original members of the Council of Governors, formed in 2010 to address matters pertaining to the National Guard and homeland security.
Nixon and the other Governors met with the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, James Cunningham, before going to Bagram Airfield. At Bagram, they met with Commanding Generals, including Gen. John F. Campbell, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and United States Forces – Afghanistan (USFOR-A). The Governors also were briefed on deconstruction operations being carried out in Afghanistan by the U.S. military.
Nixon also met with soldiers from Missouri. The Governor is scheduled to return to Missouri on Monday.
(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas’ highest court is set to take up a case this week that could decide whether the state’s voters will be required to show photo identification at the polls in the November election.
The state Supreme Court on Thursday is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the lawsuit over Arkansas’ voter ID law, which took effect in January. With a U.S. Senate race that could determine which party controls that chamber, how the court rules could have national implications.
Here’s what to know about the state’s voter ID law, and the case before the Supreme Court:
(Scott) (AP) – Pulaski County authorities and volunteers have resumed searching for a missing real estate agent who disappeared after going to show a home in Scott.
Lt. Carl Minden says the search for Beverly Carter of Scott resumed Sunday morning.
Carter was reported missing late Friday night by her husband when she failed to contact him after leaving to show the home to an unknown person about 5:30 p.m.
Deputies say the woman’s purse was found in her vehicle outside the home and that the door to the residence was open.
(West Plains) – Oxford Health Care will be sponsoring a flu shot clinic this coming Friday, October 3.
The clinic will be held at the West Plains Senior Center, 416 E. Main St., from 11 AM to 1 PM.
Oxford officials say the cost for the shot is $16, and Medicare Part B will be accepted at the clinic.
Highway 160 in Howell County, from Route 101 to Route JJ, will be reduced to one lane as contractor crews seal the roadway Wednesday, October 1 through Wednesday, October 15 from 6 AM to 7 PM, including weekends if necessary.
Route P in Howell County, from Highway 63 to Route AP, will be reduced to one lane while crews perform pavement repairs Monday, September 29 through Friday, October 3 from 7 AM to 3:30 PM daily.
Route UU in Howell County, from Highway 63 to the end of state maintenance, will be reduced to one lane as crews perform pavement repairs Monday, September 29 through Friday, October 3 from 7 AM to 3:30 PM daily.
Route HH, from Route 137 in Howell County to the end of state maintenance in Texas County, will be reduced to one lane as crews perform pavement repairs on Monday, September 29 through Friday, October 3 from 7 AM to 3:30 PM daily.
Route 17, from Route 106 in Texas County to Highway 60 in Howell County, will be reduced to one lane as contractor crews seal the roadway from Wednesday, October 1 through Wednesday, October 15 from 6 AM to 7 PM, including weekends as necessary.
Route 106 in Shannon County at the bridge over the Current River between north County Road 531 and south County Road 531, will be reduced to one lane as crews perform routine bridge maintenance Monday, September 29 through Wednesday, October 1 from 7 AM to 5 PM daily.
Route H in Shannon County, from Route 19 to Route 106, will be reduced to one lane as crews seal the roadway on Tuesday, September 30 from 7 AM to 3:30 PM.
Route 76, from north Route 181 in Douglas County to Route Z in Howell County, will be reduced to one lane as crews replace pipe under the roadway Monday, September 29 through Friday, October 3 from 7 AM to 3:30 PM daily.
Route AZ in Texas County, from Route 137 to the end of state maintenance, will be reduced to one lane as crews perform pavement repairs Monday, September 29 through Friday. October 3 from 7 AM to 3:30 PM daily.
Route H in Texas County at the bridge over Elk Creek between Bethany Road and Roberts Road will be reduced to one lane with a 12-foot width restriction as crews perform bridge maintenance Monday, September 29 through Thursday, October 2 from 7 AM to 4:30 PM daily.
The work zones will be marked with signs, and motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the areas.
(Houston) – The Texas County Sheriff could be facing surgery after injuring himself during a foot pursuit.
The Houston Herald reports that Sheriff James Sigman sustained a shoulder injury after he tripped and fell during a foot pursuit September 16. Despite the injury, Sigman has continued working.
He will be traveling to Ozark on Tuesday for surgery consultation.
(West Plains) – The Meek’s location in West Plains will be celebrating its newly remodeled store with a Grand Re-Opening event beginning Saturday, September 27 and go through Saturday, October 4.
The Grand Re-Opening of this store will kick off Saturday, September 27 with a day full of festivities. Customers can take advantage of many Customer Appreciation Day Specials plus food and fun. This special event on September 27 will include free hot dogs and refreshments from 11 AM to 1 PM. There will be a bounce house and a balloon artist for the kids. Adults are eligible to sign up for door prizes and may register to win the $500 Meek’s Gift Certificate Grand Prize.
Following the big Saturday kick off, other Meek’s Grand Re-Opening Celebration sales and fun continues with free popcorn and soda all week long.
The West Plains Grand Re-Opening event hopes to introduce customers to the many new items added to their inventory plus highlight how the store has been reorganized to better accommodate their customers.