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State of Emergency Declared in Missouri as Grand Jury Hears Evidence
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As the grand jury finalizes its decision in the Michael Brown case, many police departments across the country prepare for possible riots.

Summary: The governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency while the state awaits the grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency, activating the National Guard on Monday as a grand jury decides whether a white police officer will be criminally charged for the shooting death of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, which is just outside of St. Louis. According to Fox News, Governor Nixon stated that the National Guard would be available to assist local law enforcement as necessary. Governor Nixon is preparing for the possibility of protests and outrage when the grand jury’s decision is announced to the public.

  
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However, though a state of emergency has been declared, there is nothing to suggest that an announcement of the decision is forthcoming anytime soon. There is no date set for the announcement.

Here is an article from last week about the preparations for the announcement.

The grand jury is tasked with determining whether Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson will be charged for his actions, which led to the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 9. According to the St. Louis County prosecutor, a decision should be reached by mid-to-late November.

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Nevertheless, law enforcement in Ferguson and across the nation prepared Monday for possible violence when the decision is announced. On Sunday, hundreds protested Brown’s death by temporarily blocking a busy intersection in St. Louis.

Many other protestors lay down in the streets just outside of a movie theater that was conducting a film festival. To commemorate Brown, the protestors pretended to be shot.

DeRay McKesson, 29, the protest leader, stated, “This is a mature movement. It is a different movement than it was in August. Then it just had anger, justifiable anger.”

This article from August describes the start of the grand jury’s deliberations.

On Sunday, the protests reached 100 days. Both of Sunday’s protests were peaceful. However, many residents, as well as city officials, anticipate more rioting if Wilson is not indicted. Jose Chavez, a 46-year-old leader of the Latinos en Axion community group, explained, “We are bracing for that possibility. That is what many people are expecting. The entire community is going to be upset.”

For other cities in America, the decision will likely spark racial tension between communities, as many argue that minorities are targeted unfairly by law enforcement.

This article describes protests in Ferguson a month after the shooting.

Lt. Michael McCarthy, a police spokesman in Boston, said, “It’s definitely on our radar. Common sense tells you the timeline is getting close. We’re just trying to prepare in case something does step off, so we are ready to go with it.”

Los Angeles police also confirmed that they had been in touch with Missouri officials. Los Angeles is no stranger to such riots: in 1992, protests and violence impacted the city after police officers were acquitted for the beating of Rodney King. Commander Andrew Smith said, “Naturally, we always pay attention. We saw what happened when there were protests over there and how oftentimes protests spill from one part of the country to another.”

Las Vegas police collaborated with pastors and other community leaders to seek restraint at a tentatively planned rally northwest of the famous strip when a decision is reached.

A Boston group called Black Lives Matter, which has chapters in major cities across the United States, has planned a rally in front of the police district office in Roxbury, to be held the day after the decision is announced.

Albuquerque police expect protests after the decision. This year, the city has seen many angry protests in light of a March police shooting of a homeless camper. Over 40 police shootings have occurred in the area since 2010.

In Philadelphia, Lt. John Stanford predicts that there will be demonstrations no matter what the outcome is.

Major city police forces have assured citizens that they are able to adequately handle crowds. After the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman, who was accused of fatally shooting Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, many cities witnessed large, but peaceful, demonstrations. In New York, hundreds marched from Union Square to Times Square, and conducted a sit-in, causing a gridlock in the city. However, the New York Police Department, which is the biggest police department in the country, is “trained to move swiftly and handle events as they come up,” according to spokesman Stephen Davis.

As for Boston, the 2,200 police officers have seen it all—from sports fans flooding the streets after victories, to protest demonstrations, such as the Occupy groups. McCarthy said, “The good thing is that our relationships here with the community are much better than they are around the world. People look to us as a model. Boston is not Ferguson.”

Photo credit: rt.com



 

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