As the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri await the grand jury’s decision on whether or not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed teen, the state’s governor, Jay Nixon, has declared a state of emergency.
"In the days immediately following Michael Brown's death, peaceful protests were marred by senseless acts of violence and destruction," Nixon said last week. "That ugliness was not representative of Missouri, and it cannot be repeated.”
By calling in the National Guard to take the lead in keeping the peace, the role of the embattled Ferguson Police Department will be diminished.
Unless extended, the state of emergency will last 30 days. The Guard troops will not “be on the front lines, confronting protesters.”
Gov. Nixon signed the executive order to activate the National Guard because of the impending “possibility of expanded unrest” in the event that Wilson isn’t charged. But, could this be yet another overreaction by authorities, who have previously donned riot gear and used excessive force against protestors?
According to a CNN reporter, residents believe the move is “a huge overreaction being that there has been no real violence over the past 90 days of protesting.” They say it “adds fuel to the fire painting them as violent protestors.”
Currently, there have been 100-plus days of daily protests by Ferguson residents since Brown’s death on August 9.
The leaks coming from the grand jury’s official inquiry into the shooting death of Brown by Wilson suggest that there might not be enough evidence to warrant an arrest, leading many to believe that there will be violence, despite the mostly peaceful demonstrations by protestors thus far.
Last week, the FBI issued a bulletin to law enforcement urging vigilance ahead of the grand jury decision.
According to a law enforcement official, though, the bulletin did not city any specific intelligence to suggest that there was an ongoing threat to officers.
As Ferguson, and the rest of the nation, waits with baited breath for the grand jury’s decision, all eyes are on how both sides will react to the news.
Do you think the state of emergency is an overreaction? Leave your comments below.