Ferguson to remain under a state of emergency

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CLAYTON, MO (KTVI) - St. Louis County will remain under an emergency declaration for at least one more night.  County Executive Steve Stenger says he’s not yet ready to lift the declaration, which was put in place on Monday and put St. Louis County Police in charge of policing the troubled Ferguson area.

Stenger has faced plenty of criticism about the emergency declaration, with many believing it came too soon.  But after what unfolded Sunday night, Stenger says it was time.

“I would say approximately fifty shots fired, looting, and burglaries and basic lawlessness, I would say that is something our community shouldn’t tolerate,” he said of his reasoning for making the move.  “Unfortunately we have a criminal element that was present and was basically using lawful protestors as a launching pad.  And we can’t have that.”

Not everyone agrees.  Tuesday night the St. Louis County Council heard speakers criticizing the action, and the council member representing Ferguson agreed.

“I felt that it was a rush to judgment,” Hazel Erby said. “It seemed that people were saying, let’s get over there.  Let’s get over there.’ They felt the need to get over to Ferguson, whether they were trying to prevent something from happening or whether they were interested in causing problems.  I thought it escalated the whole problem.”

So when might Stenger lift the emergency order? Not Tuesday night.

“As soon as it’s unnecessary I’ll be more than happy to lift it,” Stenger said.  “I certainly don’t want so see it go on any longer than it has to, but we’ll see how tonight goes and how tomorrow goes.

“The overarching goal is, I don’t want to see that city (Ferguson) burnt down.  I mean we have come way too far in all of this to have more burning and looting.  It just can’t happen.”