Missouri governor on Ferguson: Violent protests ‘cannot be repeated’ – CNN
(CNN) — As Missouri governor, Jay Nixon believes the most important part of his job is keeping the people of his state safe.
To that end, he told reporters Tuesday that he’s working “around the clock” ahead of the grand jury decision in the case of Michael Brown.
Brown, a black teen, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, on August 9. The jury is weighing whether to indict Wilson.
“In the days immediately following Michael Brown’s death, peaceful protests were marred by senseless acts of violence and destruction,” the governor said.
Ferguson gears up for grand jury decision
“That ugliness was not representative of Missouri and it cannot be repeated,” said Nixon.
Many protesters were furious because they felt Brown’s killing was an example of excessive use of force. They and heavily armed law enforcement clashed in the streets for days after Brown’s death.
Authorities, who drove armored vehicles and wore military gear, were roundly criticized by members of the media, other law enforcement officials and demonstrators for escalating the violence, rather than tempering it.
Though the grand jury has until January to issue its ruling on Wilson, the prosecutor’s office has said a decision could come as early as mid-November.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles has previously told local media that authorities must “prepare for the worst” and that he expects demonstrations across the area.
Brown’s father said that he, too, foresees protests.
“We understand that our son is gone, but the movement will be that — we’re trying to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Michael Brown Sr. told CNN.
Nixon made clear he’s not anticipating violence, but wants to be ready for anything.
Police from various departments will operate as a unified command. The National Guard will be available as necessary.
Law enforcement is prepared to extend shifts and limit leave, and additional resources have been distributed, Nixon said.
“These measures are not being taken because we are convinced that violence will occur, but because we have a responsibility to prepare for any contingency,” said the governor.
“This is America. People have a right to express their views and grievances, but they do not have the right to put their fellow citizens or their property at risk,” he said.
CNN’s Ashley Fantz contributed to this report.