Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) declared a state of emergency Monday, preempting a grand jury decision in the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown that is expected to be delivered any day.
The order establishes that the St. Louis County police will be in charge of law enforcement in Ferguson in response to any unrest. It will work in coordination with the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the St. Louis city police. The order lasts for 30 days.
Nixon also issued an executive order activating the Missouri National Guard to assist local law enforcement.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay emphasized in a Monday press conference that the National Guard would play a “secondary” role in policing any protests.
“This would be from our standpoint a secondary role,” Slay said, according to Reuters. “We would not have the guard on the front lines interacting with, dealing with, confronting protesters.”
Slay added that it was his understanding that the National Guard would arrive in the area “some time soon,” possibly later this week. “They’re not going to wait for a decision,” he said.
The St. Louis County grand jury that has been investigating Brown’s shooting by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson is expected to announce its decision whether to indict Wilson in the coming days.
WHEREAS, the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region have experienced periods of unrest over the past three months; and
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice and St. Louis County authorities are conducting separate criminal investigations into the facts surrounding the death of Michael Brown; and
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice and St. Louis County authorities could soon announce the findings of their independent criminal investigations; and
WHEREAS, regardless of the outcomes of the federal and state criminal investigations, there is the possibility of expanded unrest; and
WHEREAS, the State of Missouri will be prepared to appropriately respond to any reaction to these announcements; and
WHEREAS, our citizens have the right to peacefully assemble and protest and the State of Missouri is committed to protecting those rights; and
WHEREAS, our citizens and businesses must be protected from violence and damage; and
WHEREAS, an invocation of the provisions of Sections 44.010 through 44.130, RSMo, is appropriate to ensure the safety and welfare of our citizens.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JEREMIAH W. (JAY) NIXON, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the State of Missouri, including Sections 44.010 through 44.130, RSMo, do hereby declare a State of Emergency exists in the State of Missouri.
I further direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region.
I further order that the St. Louis County Police Department shall have command and operational control over security in the City of Ferguson relating to areas of protests, acts of civil disobedience and conduct otherwise arising from such activities.
I further order that the Unified Command may exercise operational authority in such other jurisdictions it deems necessary to protect civil rights and ensure public safety and that other law enforcement agencies shall assist the Unified Command when so requested and shall cooperate with operational directives of the Unified Command.
I further order, pursuant to Section 41.480, RSMo, the Adjutant General of the State of Missouri, or his designee, to forthwith call and order into active service such portions of the organized militia as he deems necessary to protect life and property and assist civilian authorities and it is further directed that the Adjutant General or his designee, and through him, the commanding officer of any unit or other organization of such organized militia so called into active service take such action and employ such equipment as may be necessary to carry out requests processed through the Missouri State Highway Patrol and ordered by the Governor of the state to protect life and property and support civilian authorities.
This Order shall expire in thirty days unless extended in whole or in part by subsequent Executive Order.