Tuesday 2 December 2014

FEMA Kept A Close Eye On Ferguson During August Protests

Reflecting the news accounts they were based on, the reports from the Kansas City, Missouri, watch center stressed the Molotov cocktails, rocks and bullets flying in "violent protests." The bulletins do not suggest that FEMA attempted to collect intelligence or conduct surveillance in the St. Louis area itself.
They began almost immediately after protests engulfed Ferguson. An "incident report" for Aug. 10, the day following Brown's death, states that "over the past couple of days large, emotionally charged crowds have gathered at the scene of the incident."
It continues, "Reports of vandalism, looting and unruly crowds have since been reported. Law Enforcement has responded with additional assistance and Tactical teams in riot gear."
Eight more reports mentioning Ferguson followed in August, according to records released to HuffPost under the Freedom of Information Act. Those reports repeatedly note that state and local authorities made no requests for FEMA assistance.
Rafael Lemaitre, FEMA's director of public affairs, told HuffPost that the "situation reports are regular, routine summaries prepared as part of FEMA’s work to maintain situational awareness of all incidents -- large or small, natural or man-made."
Lemaitre said such "routine summaries" are "vital" in preparing FEMA if and when state officials do ask for federal assistance.


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