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Missouri Police Planning For Possible Riots If Officer That Killed Mike Brown Is Not Indicted

Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, is not the only one whose fate may rest on the actions of a grand jury. According to Reuters, Missouri police are reaching out to the FBI and other police departments in preparation for possible riots if Officer Wilson is not indicted by a grand jury investigating the killing of Brown.

The killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown has already ignited fierce protests in the town of Ferguson due to reports that Brown was in the process of surrendering to Wilson when he was gunned down. Demonstrators often make the sign of “hands up” to show solidarity with Brown and draw attention to the alleged circumstances of the killing.

Brown was unarmed and if he was surrendering with his “hands up” when killed then Officer Wilson broke the law. Whether or not Wilson fired on a surrendering Brown and whether or not he will face justice if he did so is up to the grand jury to decide.

Missouri authorities are drawing up contingency plans and seeking intelligence from U.S. police departments on out-of-state agitators, fearing that fresh riots could erupt if a grand jury does not indict a white officer for killing a black teen.

The plans are being thrashed out in meetings being held two to three times a week, according to people who have attended them. The FBI said it was also involved in the discussions.

The grand jury is expected to decide Wilson’s fate next month giving Missouri police some time to plan on what to do if  riots break out in the event that Wilson is not indicted. The police fear that if a riot does break out it will spill out of Ferguson into the larger metropolitan area in and around the city of St. Louis.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Missouri Police Planning For Possible Riots If Officer That Killed Mike Brown Is Not Indicted

Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, is not the only one whose fate may rest on the actions of a grand jury. According to Reuters, Missouri police are reaching out to the FBI and other police departments in preparation for possible riots if Officer Wilson is not indicted by a grand jury investigating the killing of Brown.

The killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown has already ignited fierce protests in the town of Ferguson due to reports that Brown was in the process of surrendering to Wilson when he was gunned down. Demonstrators often make the sign of “hands up” to show solidarity with Brown and draw attention to the alleged circumstances of the killing.

Brown was unarmed and if he was surrendering with his “hands up” when killed then Officer Wilson broke the law. Whether or not Wilson fired on a surrendering Brown and whether or not he will face justice if he did so is up to the grand jury to decide.

Missouri authorities are drawing up contingency plans and seeking intelligence from U.S. police departments on out-of-state agitators, fearing that fresh riots could erupt if a grand jury does not indict a white officer for killing a black teen.

The plans are being thrashed out in meetings being held two to three times a week, according to people who have attended them. The FBI said it was also involved in the discussions.

The grand jury is expected to decide Wilson’s fate next month giving Missouri police some time to plan on what to do if  riots break out in the event that Wilson is not indicted. The police fear that if a riot does break out it will spill out of Ferguson into the larger metropolitan area in and around the city of St. Louis.

Ferguson has still been seeing some protests though the protests are reportedly smaller and less volatile than they were initially. Part of the reason why the volatility has dissipated may be that police have rolled back some of their use of military equipment and riot control measures to confront demonstrators. A judge recently ruled against some of the tactics police used.

Of course, what is a “riot” may also become a question. No doubt there will be people on the street in Ferguson if Wilson is not indicted for killing Brown. But that does not mean demonstrations will not be peaceful or at least start that way. Hopefully the Missouri police are spending as much time planning to deescalate tensions and restrain themselves as they are planning to use force. Then again, a failure to do that is how this whole thing started.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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