Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said early Thursday morning that he’ll return to the Ferguson area on Thursday to monitor what he called “the worsening situation.”
The crisis there, he said in a statement, “does not represent who we are as Missourians or as Americans.”
Nixon’s office said the governor would appear at a meeting of the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition at a Florisssant church. He also planned to make other stops.
Nixon had been scheduled to appear at the State Fair in Sedalia.
But critics, including a black state senator from the St. Louis area, rode the governor for treating the situation in Ferguson differently than he did the tornado that ripped through Joplin in 2011.
Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a black Democrat from University City, told MSNBC that the governor “doesn’t care about black people or the black community unless it’s politically expedient.”
Nixon won widespread praise for his diligent in attending to the victims in Joplin after an EF-5 tornado tore apart the city.
On Monday, Nixon requested an independent federal investigation of the shooting. On Tuesday, he spoke to the community, saying, “We stand together tonight, reeling from what feels like an old wound that has been torn open afresh. A wound that hadn’t quite healed right in the first place, and now the pain is just as searing as when the injury first occurred.”
Here’s the statement he released early Thursday morning:
“The worsening situation in Ferguson is deeply troubling, and does not represent who we are as Missourians or as Americans. While we all respect the solemn responsibility of our law enforcement officers to protect the public, we must also safeguard the rights of Missourians to peaceably assemble and the rights of the press to report on matters of public concern.
“I have been closely monitoring the situation and will continue to be in communication with local leaders, and I will be in north St. Louis County tomorrow. As Governor, I am committed to ensuring the pain of last weekend’s tragedy does not continue to be compounded by this ongoing crisis.
“Once again, I ask that members of the community demonstrate patience and calm while the investigation continues, and I urge law enforcement agencies to keep the peace and respect the rights of residents and the press during this difficult time.”