Police officers in and around Ferguson are reportedly preparing for riots and protests to follow the grand jury verdict in the officer-involved shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Even if officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on Aug. 9, is indicted like protesters want, police fear there will still be rowdy demonstrators in the streets.
On a “St. Louis Coptalk” forum, a supposed Ferguson-area officer posted a chilling warning about what he expects to happen in Ferguson, Vocativ reported.
“If you do not have a gun, get one and get one soon. We will not be able to protect you or your family,” he wrote. “It will be your responsibility to protect them. Our gutless commanders and politicians have neutered us. I’m serious, get a gun, get more than one, and keep one with you at all times.”
The man’s identity as a police officer could not be independently confirmed.
The FBI also reportedly issued an intelligence bulletin recently warning that the grand jury’s decision “will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure.”
“This also poses a threat to those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally protected activities,” the bulletin said.
Vocativ has more information on the St. Louis Coptalk chatter:
Other posts on the forum echo that sentiment, going so far as to label the protesters and activists in Ferguson as “terrorists,” and calling out local businesses that have identified themselves as supporters of the protests there.
Some users discussed using water hoses to “protect” the cops against the protesters. One, under the name “Retiree,” wrote, “I say if the protesters want to use shields and like equipment then the officers should incorporate using the fire dept and there (sic) hoses… With the wind and temps what a great way to put a sudden stop to marches and protests.” An anonymous user who said he was a cop replied, “We can’t even hit our sticks on the ground.”
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) declared a state of emergency on Monday ahead of the grand jury decision. The order puts the St. Louis County Police Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol in charge of handling any future unrest.
Further, schools expect advance notice of an announcement to help ensure students can get home before any major disruptions from protests. Police have undergone training pertaining to protesters’ constitutional rights and have purchased more equipment, such as shields, helmets, smoke canisters and rubber bullets.
The Police Wives Association is also collecting donations, including food, drinks and clothing in preparation for riots and protests, according to KMOV-TV.
Before the shooting earlier this year, Wilson spotted Brown and a friend walking in the middle of a street and told them to stop, but they did not. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wilson has told authorities he then realized Brown matched the description of a suspect in a theft minutes earlier at a convenience store. Wilson backed up his police vehicle and some sort of confrontation occurred before Brown was fatally shot.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.