Police prepare for riots following Ferguson Grand Jury decision
DETROIT, November 11, 2014 — A grand jury decision to indict or not indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown is still weeks away, according to the Los Angeles Times. But that fact has not prevented the Ferguson Police, Missouri Highway Patrol, St. Louis Metropolitan Police and St. Louis County police from preparing for a possible round two of riots and explosive unrest.
In August, Wilson, a white police officer, shot 18-year-old Brown to death during a brief encounter. The six shots the officer fired and Brown’s death ignited nearly two weeks of protests. Claims of racism, and police brutality were hurled at both the white police officer and the police department.
The adage “forewarned is forearmed” is flipped around when it comes to police preparedness; this is clear with the new firepower that has been recently acquired by the St. Louis County Police Department.
The LA Times reports that the department spent $120,000 for the purchase of flex handcuffs, batons, shields and tear gas due to depletion of its supplies. Also, some police equipment was damaged during the first round of protests and had to be replaced.
Brown’s death brought Ferguson to the national stage, and to the attention of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. If justice is what the two well-travelled civil-rights-for-hire hucksters were seeking, it was abundantly clear that the right to a fair trial for the police officer was apparently not on their agenda.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder inserted the Justice Department into the middle of the situation when it appeared certain to him that the Ferguson Police Department did not possess the expertise to conduct an impartial investigation into Brown’s death.
Now there is an ongoing federal investigation by the Justice Department of the Ferguson Police Department to determine whether there have been civil rights infractions against Ferguson’s minority residents.
All of this may be moot to some of Ferguson’s minority residents, who have declared their intention to violently protest any decision that “lets Officer Wilson off the hook.”
This type of negative reaction by the community is exactly what the local law enforcement agencies are bracing for. According to St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman they did not want to use the newly purchased equipment while stressing that “We have an obligation to preserve life and property…. As police it’s our job to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best,” according to the LA Times.
While the police continue to prepare for possible violence, the residents of Ferguson are preparing as well. A number of public forums are being held throughout the community to educate people about their rights in the event they are arrested. They are also being notified where they can receive legal aid.
Other residents are not taking any chances. According to CNN, Dan McMullen, who owns an insurance agency near the site of much of earlier vandalism and looting is planning to bring extra guns to his Ferguson Solo Insurance office. He says that he will use them to protect his life if he has to.
“So maybe I get trapped here or something and have to have a John Wayne shootout,” McMullen says “Is that going to happen? Not a chance. But I guess, could it? I’m the only white person here.”
The grand jury’s decision will be followed up with the release of transcripts and audio recordings of the hearings by St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch. Will the ticking time-bomb in Ferguson explode, or will calmer heads prevail?
If Sharpton and Jackson return to Ferguson to light the fuse, the bomb will go off and the calmer heads will be blown away. A world of hurt will come down on Ferguson, and perhaps on Darren Wilson.
Will it be justice, or vengeance?