By JONATHAN TOPAZ | 8/18/14 9:14 AM EDT Updated: 8/18/14 3:14 PM EDT
President Barack Obama will speak Monday afternoon on the situations in Iraq and Ferguson, Missouri, following his meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder, according to the White House.
Obama’s remarks are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. EST.
Holder met with President Barack Obama at the White House Monday afternoon to discuss the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, after perhaps the most violent night of demonstrations since the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
The president, who arrived at the White House early Monday morning for a scheduled break in his family vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, was in the Oval Office with Holder at 1:40 p.m., according to a White House pool report.
Other Obama administration officials in the meeting included White House deputy chief of staff Anita Breckenridge, White House counsel Neil Eggleston and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, the report said.
Early Monday morning, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced he was deploying the state National Guard to Ferguson to address the “intensifying violent attacks” there. The Democratic governor’s announcement came after increased tensions in the Missouri city following the release of the identity of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on Aug. 9, and the institution of a state of emergency and curfew over the weekend.
In a statement later Monday, the governor announced there would not be a curfew on Monday night and that the Guard would have a “limited mission.”
“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,” Nixon said in a statement. “The Guard will concentrate its resources on carrying out this limited mission.”
The scene on Sunday was a marked contrast to the calm Thursday evening, when Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson presided over a night of peaceful protests, no arrests and a downsized, plainclothes police force. Sunday night marked the second evening of a state-imposed midnight-5 a.m. curfew, a decision Nixon said was necessary to prevent looters from doing more damage but that has received heavy criticism from many in the Ferguson community and elsewhere.
Police officials have acknowledged that officers fired several smoke canisters and at least one tear gas canister Sunday, and many of the hundreds of officers in Ferguson on Sunday evening appeared in riot gear. Police reported that they were responding to gunfire and Molotov cocktails being thrown from members of the crowd, but protesters said law enforcement acted without being provoked. Johnson of the Highway Patrol said one protester shot another and that the victim was listed in critical condition early Monday morning. He also said he was forced to “elevate the level” of police response after some crowd members threw bottles at officers.
“Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk,” Nixon said in a statement announcing the deployment of National Guard troops.
Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, who has visited Ferguson at the invitation of Brown’s family, said the decision to deploy National Guard troops to Ferguson could have “explosive” consequences.
“This could be explosive. The National Guard raises concern,” he said on MSNBC, later suggesting he might return to Ferguson as a result.
A preliminary autopsy released Sunday indicated that Brown was shot at least six times, including two shots in the head. The results, first obtained by The New York Times, showed that Brown was shot four times in the right arm. Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York who conducted the autopsy, said the bullet that caused the fatal injury struck Brown near the top of his skull and suggested he was bent forward when it hit.
On the same day, Holder ordered the Justice Department to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed as part of the federal investigation into Brown’s death. “Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner,” DOJ spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement Sunday. “This independent examination will take place as soon as possible.”
The attorney for Brown’s family Benjamin Crump called the privately requested autopsy “very preliminary” and said it “only tells part of the story,” but said its result support the numerous eyewitness accounts of Brown’s shooting.
“It’s going to be one of those things that we have to get all the witness statements out and look at all the autopsies, all the evidence to put this picture together,” he said at a press conference Monday following the release of the private autopsy.
While Baden said the request for a second, private autopsy isn’t uncommon, the presence of a third — which will be conducted by the Department of Justice — is. He acknowledged the political tensions surrounding the death of the teen.
“It shows the interest and the concern the federal government has in this kind of death,” Baden said. “Never as far as I recall has the president of the United States got involved.”
Baden said six bullets struck Brown, including two head wounds and added there weren’t any signs of a struggle. However, Baden said x-rays, which should be available at some time whether in the next few weeks or month, will give more information. He added that “at some time” there will be access to Brown’s clothing.
“But often in an investigation like this, it’s not uncommon for prosecutors not to want information released, but I think in my experience, when that happens it only get the community more upset,” Baden said.
On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” on Monday morning, Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden called the autopsy “very, very troubling.”
“It confirms our worst fears that the witnesses were telling the truth — that our son was shot many times,” she said during the interview. “What is worst is the head shot.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, criticized the Ferguson Police Department on Monday for failing to release the information first uncovered by the autopsy. “The revelation that Michael Brown was shot six times is something that we could have learned from the police on Sunday, on Day One,” she said on MSNBC. “This is a perfect example of the way in which the unnecessary withholding of information has created more concern, more questions.”
In a separate autopsy, a source told the Washington Post on Monday that the St. Louis County medical examiner reported marijuana was in Brown’s system.
The president hasn’t delivered a formal address about the situation in Ferguson since Thursday, when he called for “healing” and “peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson.” Obama, who earlier last week ordered the Justice Department investigation into Brown’s death, criticized the police for using “excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.” He also denounced crowd members “who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting.”
After a mild Thursday, violence picked back up Friday evening, hours after the Ferguson Police Department released Wilson’s name after a six-day wait. Many in the Ferguson community were upset that Wilson’s name was released in conjunction with a video and report that indicated that Brown was a suspect in a convenience store robbery. Police Chief Thomas Jackson later said that Wilson hadn’t been aware that Brown was a suspect.
Demonstrators have also sparred with police officers over the curfew Nixon implemented beginning on Saturday, as protestors reportedly chanted “No Justice, No Curfew” as officers tried to disperse the crowd. The governor’s decision was also decried by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the ACLU and the Lawyers’ Committee, in a statement released Sunday evening.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/ferguson-obama-eric-holder-110104.html#ixzz3Alzv4hqf