Gov. Jay Nixon (D) issued an executive order on Monday declaring a state of emergency in Missouri as the nation awaits a grand jury decision in the case of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
Citing "periods of unrest" in the city of Ferguson and other places in the St. Louis area following Brown's Aug. 9 death, Nixon announced the executive order as a measure to protect the citizens and businesses of Missouri from "violence and damage."
"I further direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region," Nixon wrote in the order, noting that citizens reserve their right to assemble peacefully.
Protesters have already begun demonstrating throughout Ferguson, St. Louis and the surrounding areas, as the grand jury's decision on whether to indict Wilson could come at any moment. On Monday, a group of protesters gathered in Clayton, where the grand jury is deliberating. Others staged a "die-in" in University City, lying down on the street and pretending to have been shot.
Read the full executive order below:
WHEREAS, the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region have experienced periods of unrest over the past three months; and
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice and St. Louis County authorities are conducting separate criminal investigations into the facts surrounding the death of Michael Brown; and
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice and St. Louis County authorities could soon announce the findings of their independent criminal investigations; and
WHEREAS, regardless of the outcomes of the federal and state criminal investigations, there is the possibility of expanded unrest; and
WHEREAS, the State of Missouri will be prepared to appropriately respond to any reaction to these announcements; and
WHEREAS, our citizens have the right to peacefully assemble and protest and the State of Missouri is committed to protecting those rights; and
WHEREAS, our citizens and businesses must be protected from violence and damage; and
WHEREAS, an invocation of the provisions of Sections 44.010 through 44.130, RSMo, is appropriate to ensure the safety and welfare of our citizens.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JEREMIAH W. (JAY) NIXON, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the State of Missouri, including Sections 44.010 through 44.130, RSMo, do hereby declare a State of Emergency exists in the State of Missouri.
I further direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region.
I further order that the St. Louis County Police Department shall have command and operational control over security in the City of Ferguson relating to areas of protests, acts of civil disobedience and conduct otherwise arising from such activities.
I further order that the Unified Command may exercise operational authority in such other jurisdictions it deems necessary to protect civil rights and ensure public safety and that other law enforcement agencies shall assist the Unified Command when so requested and shall cooperate with operational directives of the Unified Command.
I further order, pursuant to Section 41.480, RSMo, the Adjutant General of the State of Missouri, or his designee, to forthwith call and order into active service such portions of the organized militia as he deems necessary to protect life and property and assist civilian authorities and it is further directed that the Adjutant General or his designee, and through him, the commanding officer of any unit or other organization of such organized militia so called into active service take such action and employ such equipment as may be necessary to carry out requests processed through the Missouri State Highway Patrol and ordered by the Governor of the state to protect life and property and support civilian authorities.
This Order shall expire in thirty days unless extended in whole or in part by subsequent Executive Order.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 17th day of November, 2014.