Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) issued a statement on Monday evening hours after it was announced a St. Louis County grand jury would not indict a police officer in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager earlier this summer. In his remarks, Nixon asked for “peace to prevail” during any protests. He also ackbowledged people of the state need to hold themselves to a “higher standard.”
“While the twelve men and women on the St. Louis County grand jury have concluded their work, the rest of us have much more work to do in order to use the lessons we have learned these past four months to create safer, stronger and more united communities,” Nixon said.
Widespread protests erupted in August in the days after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. Those demonstrations included vandalism and were met by a violdent crackdown from local law enforcement. Nixon encouraged protesters to remain peaceful in his response to the verdict.
“As we continue to await word on the U.S. Justice Department’s ongoing investigation, I urge all those voicing their opinions regarding the grand jury’s decision to do so peacefully,” said Nixon. “I also urge everyone to continue working to make positive changes that will yield long-term social, economic and spiritual benefits for all our communities.”
After the initial protests in Ferguson this summer, Nixon was accused of being absent from the city as police responded to the demonstrations. Prior to the verdict on Monday, Nixon announced a variety of law enforcement agencies would be available to respond to protests including National Guard troops who would be available for “contingency planning.”
“My commitment to the people of the region and state is this: I will do everything in my power to keep you safe and protect your right to speak,” Nixon said. “We must also make a commitment to one another: to trust more and fear less, to hold ourselves to a higher standard of personal responsibility and mutual respect, and to keep working to extend the promise of America to all our citizens.”
Nixon concluded by reiterating his call for calm.
“It is my continued hope and expectation that peace will prevail. The world is watching,” said Nixon. “I am confident that together we will demonstrate the true strength and character of this region, and seize this opportunity to build a more just and prosperous future for all.”
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