Michael Brown Case: Missouri in State of Emergency, Other Cities Across U.S. Prepare for Possible Protests


Since Aug. 20, the St. Louis grand jury has been holding a meeting and is about to make a decision any time this month on charging Officer Darren Wilson with the crime of killing Michael Brown on Aug. 9. The shooting, which witnesses recalled as seeing Brown holding his hands up in the air as an act of surrender, has sparked several protests and worldwide attention to the St. Louis suburb. The place has blacks fill over half its population though the police are mostly whites.

The incident, which has been described by protesters as a racist act, reignited other issues such as police brutality and police relations with minority communities.

"It's definitely on our radar," said police spokesman Lt. Michael McCarthy in Boston. "Common sense tells you the timeline is getting close. We're just trying to prepare in case something does step off, so we are ready to go with it."

Back in Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday and asked for additional support fromt the National Guard.

"Our goal here is to keep the peace and allow folks' voices to be heard. People need to feel safe and to achieve those goals, we need to be prepared," Nixon said.

On Thursday, several dozens of people gathered in a church basement and shared plans on what they would do next if the grand jury's decision becomes favorable to Darren Wilson. One of their plans is descending in large numbers on Clayton on the day after the announcement. The group aims to disrupt businesses in the area.

On Sunday, angry demonstrators took to the streets of St. Louis where several people laid down on the street, pretending that they were shot by other protesters who acted like the police officers. The move is aimed to serve as a reminder on what had transpired on the day when 18-year old Michael Brown was killed.

"We've come to the conclusion that we really don't want violence," said Bud Cuzz, one of the organizers of the demonstrating group known as 'Lost Voices.' "We want to fix this. We still want to fight to make the laws change. We still want to raise awareness. But we don't want the city to turn upside down."

In the neighboring town of Berkeley, officials have been passing out fliers and urging residents to brace themselves for a possible unrest similar to how they would prepare for a major storm. They were advised to keep plenty of water, food and medicine just in case they needed to stay home for several days to keep themselves safe.

Lt. John Stanford, spokesman of Philadelphia Police, said that the city is anticipated to have demonstrations no matter what decision the grand jury would reach at.

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