Ferguson Prepares For Grand Jury Ruling, Lawyers For Brown Family Say Gov Should Turn Focus To Police
Update: Lawyers for the family of Michael Brown, the teen who was killed by Officer Darren Wilson this summer, says Gov. Jay Nixon’s “zero tolerance comments” about violence after the grand jury decision is announced should also apply to the police. While the family says “violence, looting and rioting” by demonstrators is unacceptable, the authorities should not be left out of that warning. (Agreed.)
“A strong message of zero tolerance should have been conveyed to all,” said Anthony Gray, one of the Brown family’s attorneys. The lawyers also said “reasonable restraints” should be used to curb protests that grow unwieldy.
Tensions are running high with the grand jury decision expected soon and the belief by the family’s lawyers that the secrecy of the proceedings can’t be trusted. Benjamin Crump, another attorney for the family, has said time and again that Wilson should be arrested.
Original story posted November 11, 2014
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has issued a press release and appeared in a press conference with law enforcement officers today to warn against violent reactions to the grand jury decision in the case against Darren Wilson, the police officer that shot and killed Michael Brown.
The grand jury has until January to come to a decision, but the prosecutor’s office has said that we can expect word by the middle of this month.
In the press release, Gov. Nixon’s office says more than 1,000 officers have gotten additional training, plans for better coordination between the police, fire department and EMS have been put in place, more communication equipment has been provided by the Department of Public Safety, and the Missouri National Guard will continue to play a part in keeping the peace.
“As Governor, the most important part of my job is keeping the people of Missouri safe,” said Nixon. “That is why we have been working around the clock to prepare to keep residents and businesses of the St. Louis region safe – regardless of the outcome of the parallel local and federal investigations.”
“This coordinated effort will be guided by the core principles of keeping the public safe, while allowing people to speak,” the Governor continues. “People have a right to express their views and grievances. But they do not have a right to put their fellow citizens at risk. As I’ve said before, violence will not be tolerated.”
But many people expect violence and are arming themselves in preparation. CNN quotes both gun owners and gun shop proprietors who say they’re thinking the worst. One store manager says gun sales are up 40 to 50 percent. Their reporting finds that these fears apply to both Blacks and Whites. Most of the weapons sold are said to be “home defense shotguns.”
And it’s not just the citizenry. CNN says the police, who have received threats, are frustrated as well.
It’s likely that all the fear and talk of violence is playing a role in generating a tense situation. Meanwhile, Michael Brown’s parents, who are still grieving the loss of their son, testified before the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland because, as Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden says, she wants the world to know what’s happening in Ferguson.
According to a separate CNN report, documents presented to the committee ask “that the U.N. panel recommend the immediate arrest of Officer Darren Wilson, who killed Brown, as well as an end to ‘racial profiling and racially-biased police harassment across the jurisdictions surrounding Ferguson.'”
In Ferguson, Gov. Nixon says both public and private organizations have taken steps to help low-income and minority communities address the socioeconomic problems they face over the past three months. The request presented to the UN asks that the US Justice Department “conduct a nationwide investigation of systematic police brutality and harassment in black and brown communities, and youth in particular.”