Update, 12:44 pm: During a brief press conference, Gov. Nixon stopped short of confirming that the St. Louis County Police Department was being removed from Ferguson, but said that he was working with officials on changes. Nixon promised that residents would see "a much better and much different tone," and to expect an official announcement at 3:00 pm local time. "We're working through an operational shift," Nixon said. "I think you all will see a different tone."
The governor was also critical of the police department's response to the protest, and said "there is a fear to hear" how the protests "fit into a broader and deeper context of a longer march to justice."
Original post: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to announce that the St. Louis County Police Department will be "taken out of the situation," Rep. Lacy Clay said, according to Bloomberg's Jonathan Allen. The governor didn't specify whether the FBI, state police, or another group would take over control of the situation.
Bloomberg: Missouri Gov. Nixon to announce St. Louis County police being taken out of situation. per Rep. Clay (D-Mo.).— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) August 14, 2014
According to Clay, the governor is on his way to the city now:
Clay: "The gov. just called me and he's on his way to St. Louis now to announce he's taking St. Louis County police out of the situation"— Derek Wallbank (@dwallbank) August 14, 2014
Meanwhile, according to Joel Currier at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this is news to the police department as well:
The St. Louis Police Department, which has been running events on the ground with the Ferguson Police Department, has received severe criticism for its handling of the situation, for both its overly militaristic response to protesters and its arrests and attacks against the press. Police also fired tear gas at an Al Jazeera America film crew last night, then dismantled their equipment.
But the police department also has its defenders. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told MSNBC Thursday that there has been a lot of unlawfulness in the area and he "can't second-guess these officers," even if they "lose their tempers" in high stress situations. "They are the professionals. They have learned from many years of dealing with these incidents across the nation," Knowles said. "Now we're just going to have to try our best to maintain order, and we ask the citizens to help us comply with that."
The governor has also been criticized for his slow response to the situation following the shooting death of an unarmed black teen at the hands of a police officer. Late last night he announced he was canceling all of his appearances, including a trip to the state fair, to go to Ferguson.
This is a developing story, and we'll add updates as more information becomes available.