As people anxiously waited for the decision from a grand jury about whether officer Darren Wilson would be indicted for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley urged Ferguson residents to be calm and safe, and to protest peacefully.
“Our shared hope and expectation is that regardless of the decision people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint,” Nixon said at a press conference. “Earlier today, I visited today with some folks in Ferguson and it's understandable like the rest of us they are on edge waiting for a decision.”
Even though tensions are high, he wanted to reiterate a “call for peace, respect and restraint.” But Nixon was careful to show respect for protesters' rights. “Together we are all focused on making sure the necessary resources are at hand to protect lives, protect property and protect free speech,” the governor added.
The county executive touched on the fact reactions to the decision would be intense, but urged people to exercise control. “No matter what is announced, people will be emotional. I want people to think with their heads and not with emotion,” Dooley said at the press conference. “No matter what, we have to remain focused on a long-term systemic change that has to take place in our community.
“This is not the time to turn on each other,” he continued. “It is the time to turn to each other.”
Widespread riots ignited 3 months ago after Wilson, a 28-year-old white officer, killed Brown, an 18-year-old black teen. The Ferguson Police Department claimed Brown was shot in self-defense, but Brown supporters maintain the teen had his arms up at the time of the incident. A decision whether or not Wilson will face charges is supposed to be revealed around 9 p.m. EST.
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