State and county authorities will join forces to curb violent protests when a grand jury announces its decision on the Ferguson police officer who shot 19-year-old Michael Brown to death in August, Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday. "Violence will not be tolerated," Nixon said in a press conference. The grand jury is expected to return its decision on Officer Darren Wilson in mid to late November, Nixon said.
The Aug. 9 shooting of Brown sparked protests that devolved into looting and vandalism, a pattern of disobedience that sparked an aggressive crackdown by police in riot gear and military equipment. "That ugliness is not representative of Missouri and it cannot be repeated," Nixon said. Police have undergone special training to encourage peaceful protests while curbing violence, while authorities have reached out to community leaders to hear their concerns and encourage them to turn in people who cause trouble. At the same time, Nixon said he is keeping the Missouri National Guard on call for backup in case things get out of hand. "We must be fully prepared," the governor said. The "unified command" will include the Missouri State Highway Patrol, St. Louis County Police and St. Louis Metropolitan Police, but will not apparently include Ferguson police, who came under withering criticism for their handling of the shooting's aftermath.
— Jon Schuppe