With civil unrest still smoldering in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, James Knowles, the mayor of the small St. Louis suburb, has issued a proclamation to “prepare for the worst” as the grand jury nears its decision on possible indictments on the Michael Brown shooting.
As originally reported on the Inquisitr, Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in August, which prompted a massive demonstration by the city’s predominantly minority population that quickly escalated into widespread looting and property destruction, forcing the Ferguson Police Department into near military-like action. The reaction of the Ferguson PD to the rioting and demonstrations drew criticism from people worldwide, and brought the question of police action violence and armed response into the public arena.
Days after the worst of the Ferguson riots, the National Guard stepped in to try and bring peace, but the citizens affected remember how the police actions — including media blackouts, beatings and shootings of protestors, and the police driving around the city in armored tanks armed with military grade assault rifles — still ring fresh in their minds.
The latest warning from the mayor’s office seems to foretell additional violence in the wake of the grand jury’s decision on the matter. Signs point to officer Darren Wilson being absolved of any wrongdoing in the shooting of Brown, and that is tantamount to pouring gasoline onto the still-burning embers of a city’s rage.
People who still openly protest the shooting have gathered under the banner of the Don’t Shoot Coalition, and they have asked Ferguson authorities for a 48-hour notice of the grand jury’s decision to try and stem any additional violence. As Fox 2 in St. Louis reports, local law enforcement has already rolled out a plan to try and keep the peace, regardless of which way the grand jury goes. Mayor Knowles has reached out to state and local agencies for assistance on the matter.
According to a report on CNN, Knowles backs the Don’t Shoot Coalition in trying to preserve the fragile peace in Ferguson.
“(Mayor Knowles) endorses the statement from the Don’t Shoot Coalition regarding the sanctity and preservation of human life. To that end, and in the spirit of building communications, members of the Unified Command have met with the coalition to define common goals.”
The threat of additional violence has loomed over the city of Ferguson for weeks as both sides await the grand jury’s decision. In a recent story on Reuters, authorities claimed that if the decision absolves Officer Wilson, the city “will see carnage.” Everyone is taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the citizens of Ferguson, but protests have seemingly erupted with each bit of news that has been released, including Brown’s autopsy reports and the defacing of a Michael Brown memorial.
As the decision draws near, the nation — and the world — will be watching and hoping that civil peace can be maintained in Ferguson and nearby St. Louis. The recent words of the mayor have not helped to calm the situation, and both sides are seemingly preparing for another clash in the streets. Whatever the outcome, Ferguson has proven to be a microcosm of deeper issues between minorities and police, and maybe once the dust has finally settled, the shooting of Michael Brown could lead to widespread change across the nation in regards to the relationship between the police and the citizens they are sworn to protect.
What do you think will happen in Ferguson if Darren Wilson is absolved of any wrong doing? Do you agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images courtesy of Getty and Google]