Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) has declared a state of emergency ahead of the grand jury decision in the fatal police officer-involved shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The decision, which could bring charges against officer Darren Wilson, is expected to be announced any day now.
The executive order directs the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the St. Louis County Police Department to work together as a “Unified Command” to “protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region.” The order gives St. Louis County police “operational control” in Ferguson in any cases of “protests, acts of civil disobedience and conduct otherwise arising from such activities.”
In this Aug. 17, 2104 file photo people defy a curfew before smoke and tear gas was fired to disperse a crowd protesting the shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Missouri police, in advance of a grand jury decision on whether to charge a white police officer who fatally shot a black 18-year-old, are making extensive preparations hoping to avoid a repeat of violent clashes between protesters and police. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
Under the state of emergency declaration, the state adjutant general of Missouri may also “call and order into active service such portions of the organized militia as he deems necessary to protect life and property and assist civilian authorities.”
The order will expire in 30 days unless its extended by the governor.
Read Nixon’s entire executive order below:
WHEREAS, the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region have experienced periods of unrest over the past three months; and
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice and St. Louis County authorities are conducting separate criminal investigations into the facts surrounding the death of Michael Brown; and
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice and St. Louis County authorities could soon announce the findings of their independent criminal investigations; and
WHEREAS, regardless of the outcomes of the federal and state criminal investigations, there is the possibility of expanded unrest; and
WHEREAS, the State of Missouri will be prepared to appropriately respond to any reaction to these announcements; and
WHEREAS, our citizens have the right to peacefully assemble and protest and the State of Missouri is committed to protecting those rights; and
WHEREAS, our citizens and businesses must be protected from violence and damage; and
WHEREAS, an invocation of the provisions of Sections 44.010 through 44.130, RSMo, is appropriate to ensure the safety and welfare of our citizens.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JEREMIAH W. (JAY) NIXON, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the State of Missouri, including Sections 44.010 through 44.130, RSMo, do hereby declare a State of Emergency exists in the State of Missouri.
I further direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region.
I further order that the St. Louis County Police Department shall have command and operational control over security in the City of Ferguson relating to areas of protests, acts of civil disobedience and conduct otherwise arising from such activities.
I further order that the Unified Command may exercise operational authority in such other jurisdictions it deems necessary to protect civil rights and ensure public safety and that other law enforcement agencies shall assist the Unified Command when so requested and shall cooperate with operational directives of the Unified Command.
I further order, pursuant to Section 41.480, RSMo, the Adjutant General of the State of Missouri, or his designee, to forthwith call and order into active service such portions of the organized militia as he deems necessary to protect life and property and assist civilian authorities and it is further directed that the Adjutant General or his designee, and through him, the commanding officer of any unit or other organization of such organized militia so called into active service take such action and employ such equipment as may be necessary to carry out requests processed through the Missouri State Highway Patrol and ordered by the Governor of the state to protect life and property and support civilian authorities.
This Order shall expire in thirty days unless extended in whole or in part by subsequent Executive Order.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 17th day of November, 2014.