Missouri governor lifts state of emergency in Ferguson

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 03, 2014 2:12 PM

(Reuters) - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Wednesday formally lifted the state of emergency that he had declared in Ferguson weeks ago when the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer sparked sometimes violent demonstrations.

"Over the past week, we've seen students getting back to school, businesses reopening their doors and folks getting back to their normal routines," Nixon said in a statement.

Nixon had declared a state of emergency on Aug. 16 due to unrest in the St. Louis suburb following the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

Demonstrators have continued to protest in Ferguson, calling for prosecutors to charge Wilson in Brown's death and for police to change tactics. There have been no violent clashes in about two weeks like those in which police in riot gear fired tear gas to quell crowds and made scores of arrests.

Nixon said a return of peace to Ferguson streets was a testament to efforts by community and faith leaders, working alongside state and local law enforcement officers.

Brown's death focused global attention on the state of race relations in the United States and evoked memories of other racially charged cases, including the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American, in Florida in 2012.

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Law enforcement and witness accounts of the shooting have differed. Police have said Brown struggled with Wilson and other witnesses have said Brown held up his hands and was surrendering when he was shot multiple times.

A county grand jury has begun hearing evidence about the police shooting and the U.S. Justice Department has opened a separate investigation.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Doina Chiacu)