Missouri Lt. Gov.: Lifting Curfew Endangers Ferguson

Monday, 18 Aug 2014 06:12 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The lieutenant governor of Missouri came out swinging Monday against Gov. Jay Nixon and his decision to lift a curfew in Ferguson after a week of rioting in the wake of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

"It appears that this governor is careening from one tactic to another," Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"Why he would announce that the curfew is being lifted tonight while the National Guard has been sent in there in the last 24 hours is absolutely beyond me," Kinder said.

His stinging criticism came just hours after Nixon dropped a curfew that had been in effect for the last two nights in a bid to stem ongoing violence over the shooting of Brown, a black teenager, by a white police officer.

Nixon also ordered the National Guard to assume "limited responsibilities" to help keep protesters in the predominantly black city of 21,000 under control.

While Kinder supports the entry of the National Guard, he says Nixon's leadership during the crisis has been abysmal, creating a dangerous environment for residents of the city.

Not only was the curfew started too late — on the eighth day after the shooting — but during the two days it was in effect, it was enforced only beginning at midnight, Kinder explained.

"[It] did not prevent violence the next two nights. In fact, of all the nights since Saturday a week ago that this happened, we've had only one night of peace since then,'' Kinder said.

"It looks to be . . . as tense as it's ever been today in the broad daylight, and we're very concerned about tonight . . . The law-abiding citizens of Ferguson, Mo., are not safe.

"Apparently, the governor and the executive branch cannot guarantee . . . there won't be more rioting and looting and smashing of windows and stealing going on tonight. Molotov cocktails and everything else.''

Kinder and Nixon are bitter political adversaries, the lieutenant governor being a Republican and the governor a Democrat, with Missouri voters electing the two positions separately. It has created tension in the state capital.

"We have a Democratic governor who communicates with us not at all. He will not answer calls that my office or I placed to him, he will not answer emails, he does not answer U.S. mail, including certified mail that I have sent him," Kinder said.

"So, I am not included in any of his decision-making and I learn about it through the media and through Twitter and other social media like everyone else does."

Kinder asked Americans to say a "prayer for peace'' for the residents of Ferguson.

"By the way, Ferguson . . . is not – I repeat it, it's not the ghetto,'' Kinder added.

"It was actually experiencing something of a renaissance in recent years, with businesses moving in, fine restaurants opening up, small retail shops, and these are the people most endangered.

"Fifteen minutes of looting can put a small-business man or woman out of business."

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