The Slatest

National Guard Activated in Anticipation of Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon at a press conference last week.

Photo by Kenny Baht/Reuters

Anticipating that the results of Justice Department and grand jury investigations into Michael Brown’s death could be announced soon—and that protests will likely follow if police officer Darren Wilson is not prosecuted for killing Brown—Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has activated the state’s national guard and declared a state of emergency. The declaration allows Nixon to direct law enforcement operations, and his public statement says he has activated the National Guard to “protect life and property and assist civilian authorities.”

A grand jury is expected to decide before the end of the month whether to indict Wilson for his role in Brown’s death. It’s not known when the Justice Department will announce the results of its investigation into whether Wilson violated Brown’s civil rights, but leaks have already suggested Wilson will not be prosecuted by the feds.

Nixon’s announcement declared that a “unified command” composed of the state highway patrol and the St. Louis County and city police departments will be responsible for guaranteeing civil rights and maintaining public safety in Ferguson “and the St. Louis region.” The announcement specifies that the St. Louis County Police Department will have “command and operational control” of security operations regarding “areas of protests, acts of civil disobedience and conduct otherwise arising from such activities” in Ferguson.