Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency today and activated the National Guard in advance of a grand jury decision about whether a white police officer will be charged in the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Nixon says the National Guard will assist state and local police in case the grand jury's decision leads to a resurgence of the civil unrest that occurred in the days immediately after the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. "All people in the St. Louis region deserve to feel safe in their communities and to make their voices heard without fear of violence or intimidation," Nixon says in a written statement.
There is no specific date for a grand jury decision to be revealed, and Nixon gives no indication that an announcement is imminent. But St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch has said that he expects the grand jury to reach a decision in mid-to-late November. Nixon also declared a state of emergency in August and put the Missouri State Highway Patrol in charge of a unified local police command. Eventually, Nixon activated the National Guard to provide security around the command center; he recalled the Guard three days later. This time, Nixon says the St. Louis County Police Department will be in charge of a unified police command in Ferguson. The St. Louis city police and Missouri State Highway Patrol will help. (Read more Ferguson, Missouri stories.)