Jay Nixon: National Guard Will Be Ready In Case Ferguson Explodes

|
November 11, 2014 3:43 p.m.

WELDON SPRING, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that law enforcement officials have been working around the clock to make sure residents and businesses are kept safe once prosecutors announce whether a suburban St. Louis police officer will face charges for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown.

A grand jury is expected to decide later this month whether to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in the Aug. 9 death of Brown, who was black and unarmed.

Weeks of protests followed the shooting and officials are trying to make sure things remain calm once the grand jury decision is announced. Nixon said looting and violence that marred mostly peaceful protests will not be tolerated.

“That ugliness was not representative of Missouri, and it cannot be repeated,” he said.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Nixon said that once the decision is announced, the state highway patrol will work with St. Louis County and city police as one unified command. The National Guard will also be available if needed.

During the protests after the shooting, police donned riot gear and patrolled in armored vehicles, drawing widespread criticism and raising questions about a program that supplies surplus military equipment to local police departments.

A small number of protesters in those first few days attacked squad cars, tossed molotov cocktails at officers and, in a few cases, shot guns in the direction of police and looted local businesses. Police responded with tear gas, smoke canisters and rubber bullets. On many nights, dozens were arrested.

St. Louis County police initially handled security, but criticism of their tactics prompted Nixon to put Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson in charge. He and other police leaders said the response was necessary to protect officers, protesters and the public.

Some protest organizers fear police will be heavy-handed after the grand jury announcement.

Ashley Yates of St. Louis, co-creator of the group Millennial Activists United noted that the vast majority of protests have been peaceful and said Nixon should focus on addressing the systemic problems faced by minority communities, “not reactionary policing techniques.”

It isn’t just law enforcement getting ready for the announcement. Organizers of Yates’ group and other protesters gathered Tuesday for training that includes how to take notes and shoot video of police actions on the streets.

“There is a significant effort to make sure that people’s rights are protected and that there’s no violence on either side,” said Andy Stepanian, a spokesman for several protest groups.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Latest News
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Audience Development Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: