Is The State Of Emergency Declaration Still Necessary In Ferguson?


The state of emergency continues in Ferguson, Mo., at least through today even though things are calm, leading to some criticism that the emergency declaration is no longer necessary, reports St. Louis Public Radio. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who issued the declaration, was critical of his predecessor for not taking a similar action after Michael Brown’s shooting death a year ago. The order gives St. Louis County policing powers in Ferguson. There are about 1,000 county police officers; Ferguson itself has about 50. Last weekend, when demonstrations marking the Brown anniversary seemed to be getting out of hand, Ferguson police were too indecisive in dealing with the situation, which necessitated a change in strategy, said former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch.

Explained Stenger: “We had a very bad evening on Sunday, and that was what the impetus was for declaring the state of emergency.” County Councilwoman Hazel Erby said the decision shaped a national narrative that the situation in St. Louis County was out of control and created more attention and fear than was necessary. “I just think that it escalated the entire situation. And it makes us look bad,” said Erby, who has clashed with Stenger. “The national media and everybody is saying a 'state of emergency.' What state of emergency? I feel bad for the people in Ferguson who have to keep going through this, because now that's bringing more media attention. And it sounds like something terrible is going on here. I'm getting calls from my family saying, 'I want you out there – out of St. Louis.' And we're not feeling that.”

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