(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Since a grand jury decision on the Michael Brown shooting is expected at any time, Ferguson, Missouri, is preparing for potential protests, which could turn violent depending on the result of the verdict.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon told reporters Tuesday, “We have been working around the clock to prepare to keep the residents and businesses of St. Louis region safe, regardless of the outcome of the parallel local and federal investigations.”
Brown, an 18-year-old black resident of Ferguson, was shot dead by white police officer Darren Wilson during an altercation last August. The shooting led to massive protests along with some looting and vandalism as demonstrators called for Wilson to be indicted for murder, claiming Brown was surrendering at the time he was shot six times.
If the grand jury investigating the shooting absolves Wilson of wrongdoing, it’s possible the African-American community in Ferguson could move beyond non-violent protests.
Speaking to that possibility, Governor Nixon said his first priority is protecting the public. “Officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, St. Louis County police and St. Louis City Police will operate as a unified command to protect the public. The National Guard has been and will continue to be part of our contingency plan,” Nixon said.
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