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Nixon activates National Guard

  

Saint Louis, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order today directing the National Guard to support law enforcement during any unrest that may follow a coming grand jury decision in the case of the death of Michael Brown.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch confirmed that a decision was likely to come in the second half of November, and rumors continue to swirl that an official decision may be handed down sometime this week.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to plan and be prepared for any contingency, it is necessary to have these resources in place in advance of any announcement of the grand jury’s decision,” Nixon said. “These additional resources will support law enforcement’s efforts to maintain peace and protect those exercising their right to free speech. The National Guard is well-suited to provide security at command posts, fire stations and other locations as well as perform other functions that will free up law enforcement officers to remain focused on community policing and protecting constitutional rights.”

The order also establishes the unified command, which Nixon said last week would be a joint law enforcement effort to combat potentially dangerous or illegal protest activities while protecting lawful speech.

The announcement comes as various groups of protesters, including the “Justice for Mike Brown Coalition” plan for a series of demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience across the St. Louis region in anticipation that the grand jury will not indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer that shot and killed Michael Brown in August.

Protesters have identified Anheuser Busch, Emerson Electric and the Clayton offices of McCulloch as just a few of the locations they’ll be planning massive demonstrations if Wilson is not indicted.

Schools in the St. Louis area will be given notice of about an hour or so if a decision is handed down by the grand jury during school hours. Several school administrators signed a letter to McCulloch only weeks ago asking that he release the decision on the weekend, for fear of school disruptions.

The grand jury has been convened to determine whether or not Wilson should stand trial for the shooting of Brown. Some eyewitnesses say Brown was gunned down while attempting to surrender to Wilson, while other have maintained that Brown assaulted Wilson and died charging toward him. Technically, the grand jury has until January of 2015 to issue their decision.