Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nixon Announces Commission to Study Issues Raised by Ferguson; Governor Has Been Criticized for Handling of the Aftermath of Brown's Fatal Shooting; FERGUSON POLICE SHOOTING

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nixon Announces Commission to Study Issues Raised by Ferguson; Governor Has Been Criticized for Handling of the Aftermath of Brown's Fatal Shooting; FERGUSON POLICE SHOOTING

Article excerpt

FERGUSON * Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced on Tuesday a commission to address the "social and economic conditions" highlighted by months of protests surrounding the killing of a black teenager by a white Ferguson police officer.

Nixon said the group, which he named the "Ferguson Commission," would consist of about 15 people and have three goals: to study the underlying causes of the unrest, to tap into expertise needed to address those concerns, and to make specific recommendations for "making the St. Louis region a stronger, fairer place for everyone to live."

"We need to solve these problems ourselves," Nixon said at a news conference at St. Louis Community College's Florissant Valley campus. "We need to solve them together, and we need to act now."

Nixon said he would choose who sits on the panel and announce those appointments early next month. He said anyone who wanted to apply could do so on the state's website. He expects the work of the commission to take six months to a year.

Asked "what kind of teeth the commission will have," Nixon declined to be specific, except to say that "it's going to have the full authority of my office. ... It will have the resources necessary."

Nixon also addressed speculation that his commission was an attempt to prepare the community for the possibility that Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson won't face any charges at the state or federal level. A St. Louis County grand jury is currently weighing whether to indict Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18, on Aug 9.

"That's not the thought behind it," Nixon said. "The investigations on the local level and federal level are obviously continuing, and that's up to the grand jury and the Department of Justice. ... I see this as a separate and vital track."

The governor has been criticized for his lack of involvement in the aftermath of the Brown shooting and the protests that followed.

And when he has spoken, his words have sometimes provoked a furor among both Brown and Wilson supporters.

In August, Nixon announced that he would not ask St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch to recuse himself from the case, angering many protesters who claimed that McCulloch's ties to law enforcement ran too deep. …

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