Missouri Police Planning For Possible Riots If Cop Who Killed Michael Brown Is Not Charged
Missouri authorities are seeking intelligence from U.S. police departments on out-of-state agitators in case rioting could erupt if a grand jury does not indict Darren Wilson, the white officer who fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
[su_center_ad]Meetings are held two to three times a week with the FBI also involved in the discussions.
The grand jury is expected to decide next month whether to bring criminal charges against police officer Darren Wilson, who shot dead Michael Brown, 18, on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri.
In differing accounts, police have said Brown struggled with Wilson before the fatal shots were fired. But some witnesses say Brown held up his hands and was surrendering when he was shot multiple times in the head and chest.
If charges are not brought against Wilson, police fear an outbreak of violence not just in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, but across the greater metropolitan area and even in other U.S. cities, according to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar and others involved in the planning meetings.
James Knowles, the Ferguson mayor who has been attending the meetings, told Reuters the fear is that if violence is triggered by the grand jury decision, “the unrest is going to be far beyond the city of Ferguson.”
Brown’s killing sparked days of protests in Ferguson in August and looting that caused millions of dollars of property damage. Police were sharply criticized for what was seen as a heavy handed response to the protests, firing tear gas and arresting hundreds of people.
Protestors and civil rights groups say Brown’s death is part of a national epidemic in which a disproportionately high number of unarmed black men are fatally shot by white police officers, an allegation police deny.
Missouri law enforcement officials have been in contact with police chiefs in Los Angeles, New York, Florida and Cincinnati, Ohio as they prepare for the grand jury decision, Belmar said.
Attending the meetings were representatives of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, St. Louis County Police, St. Louis city police and Ferguson police. The top FBI official in St Louis, Agent William Woods, attended a strategy meeting last week, according to St Louis FBI spokeswoman Rebecca Wu.
Authorities are discussing how to handle the possibility of riots, after a public backlash in how they dealt with protesters since the teenager’s shooting death by a police officer.
And then there’s this: A federal judge has ruled that police in Ferguson violated the Constitution when they told protesters that they had to keep walking and that they couldn’t stand still.
The police in the small city immediately utilized military-style tactics on protesters, an issue which is a growing concern in other smaller cities in the U.S. On Thursday, a possible leak from a pro-Darren Wilson juror was revealed, adding even more fuel to the fire. [su_csky_ad]