We perish because we know not… #TLENews
Missouri governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard ahead of a grand jury decision about whether white police officer Darren Wilson will be charged in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson. He said on Monday that the National Guard will assist state and local police in case the grand jury’s decision leads to a resurgence in the same civil unrest that gripped the city after the August 9th shooting.
“All the people in the St Louis region deserve to feel safe in their communities and to make their voices heard without fear of violence or intimidation,” Nixon said in a written statement. “Regardless of the outcomes of the federal and state criminal investigations, there is the possibility of expanded unrest, particularly given the unrest already experienced in Ferguson and the surrounding area over the past three months.
No specific date has been revealed for the grand jury decision and Nixon gave no indication that an announcement is imminent. Prosecutor Bob McCulloch says that he expects the grand jury to reach a decision by mid to late November.
The grand jury has convened to consider if there is enough evidence to proceed with charges and if so, what those charges would be. Should the jury bring back an indictment, a separate jury would be selected to decide whether or not Officer Wilson is guilty.
The United State Justice Department is also conducting a separate investigation and has not said when its work will be completed.
Mike Brown, who was unarmed, was shot by Darren Wilson after a confrontation when the officer noticed Brown and a friend walking in the middle of the street and said stop.
Civil unrest unleashed a day after the shooting leading to police responding to protests with a heavily armored presence widely criticized for continuing to escalate tensions.
Since October plans were being made as Missouri law enforcement held meetings 2-3 times per week including military and FBI, according to attendees. Missouri law enforcement sought out intelligence from police departments across the country on what they called “out of state agitators.” In actuality, attempts were underway to squeeze out independent media from going to Ferguson.
Charlie Grapski, an independent journalist with PINAC and heads their Open Records Project, was arrested and transported to a mental health facility under Baker Act, Florida state law that allows for the involuntary detainment of citizens if the show signs of mental illness along with signs they are a threat to themselves or others. Grapski was scheduled to fly out to Ferguson when a SWAT team descending on him and his father sitting in a car detaining him. He was promptly arrested and placed on a mental health hold.
He posted a Facebook status, “I have been falsely accused of threatening violence in Ferguson. I was supposed to arrive tomorrow. I have been unlawfully detained and Baker Acted and locked up. I don’t know when I will be able to communicate further. “
Daily Kos journalist, Shaun King, revealed that a member of the military, speaking confidentially, stated that his unit was told that they needed to prepare for riots in Ferguson and St Louis soon. They had been doing early morning drills to prepare for riots and how to shut them down. He also tweeted that “Someone who attended these secret meetings, which were leaked by Reuters, told us about plans to shut down the airport and highways.”
An organized effort is already in place to destabilize protesters and activists. Doubling and tripling the bail amounts for protesters is one of their means of discouraging them from making their voices heard.
The events taking place echo the tactics employed by the old Soviet Union. Will Missouri be the example of things to come?