To prevent an explosion of violence, activists in Ferguson say they are hoping to get an advanced notice on whether or not the white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, will face charges for shooting Michael Brown on August 9.
At a news conference, members of the Don’t Shoot Coalition said they want to “de-escalate violence without de-escalating action.”
“After the verdict, no matter what it is, people are going to pour into the street – either in celebration or in rage,” Montague Simmons, chairman of the Organization for Black Struggle, said yesterday.
Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Attorney Bob McCulloch, met with Michael McPhearson, executive director of Veterans for Peace, and attorney Denise Lieberman on Wednesday and said that the request for 48 hours notice is “being considered.”
The protests that followed Brown’s death caught the nation’s attention. While some protesters were out to find out why Brown was shot, some people took advantage of the night and broke into local businesses and looted them. The police response, using instruments of war like tanks, served to further agitate the protesters and led to a national conversation about the militarizing of the nation’s police force.
The activists are trying to avoid a repeat of the chaos by being prepared beforehand. The details about the Brown autopsy and the grand jury probe have led many to conclude that officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted for killing Brown, though many in the community say they saw him continue to shoot at the teen when his hands were raised in surrender.
The police say they do not plan on impeding peaceful dissent, but St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that he won’t take anything off the table when asked about using tear gas or other means.
“I have a responsibility… to make sure that everybody walks out of this on the other end,” Belmar said, according to the Associated Press.