Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has lifted the state of emergency that he imposed several weeks ago in Ferguson – thus ending his power to replace St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch as the head of the local investigation into the police shooting that set off the community’s unrest.
Nixon’s announcement came shortly before a group gathered outside McCulloch’s office in Clayton. The 40-some community and social justice groups that comprise the newly formed Don’t Shoot Coalition were demanding the governor replace McCulloch with a special prosecutor.
One of the coalition leaders Montague Simmons said that while Nixon no longer has the power to remove the prosecutor, Nixon can still pressure McCulloch to recuse himself. Simmons said McCulloch’s record suggests he cannot be impartial and has lost the trust of the community.
The group is also calling for an expanded federal investigation into civil rights violations by police; an end to racial profiling; increased diversity on police forces; and civilian review boards to oversee investigations of excessive force by police.
Back to a normal state
Nixon said in his declaration that the emergency decree was no longer needed since peace appears to have been restored. The governor had earlier removed the National Guard, and now appears to be ready to do the same with the state Highway Patrol, which has overseen law enforcement in Ferguson for weeks.