Mayor of Ferguson Warns Residents to ‘Prepare for the Worst’

Mayor of Ferguson Warns Residents to 'Prepare for the Worst'

Tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, have simmered since black teen Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in August.

And with a grand jury expected to soon deliver its decision on whether to indict the officer, a group that represents protesters says it wants 48-hours notice before the decision is announced so it can help prevent the St. Louis suburb from once again boiling over with anger, violence and confusion.

A group of community members calling themselves the Don’t Shoot Coalition this week released 19 “Rules of Engagement” that touch on major points of contention between protesters and police since Brown’s August 9 killing.

Witnesses said Brown, who was unarmed, had his hands in the air as if surrendering, when he was shot. Authorities said Brown attacked the officer.

‘Prepare for the worst’

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told local media this week that authorities must “prepare for the worst” and he expects demonstrations across the area.

He and his administration didn’t respond to CNN’s inquiries about whether city officials would agree to the coalition’s requests. Ferguson police also did not respond to CNN’s questions about what that department thinks of the “rules,” but St. Louis County police said their department “endorses the statement from the Don’t Shoot Coalition regarding the sanctity and preservation of human life. To that end, and in the spirit of building communications, members of the Unified Command have met with the coalition to define common goals.”

Many protesters were furious because they feel Brown’s killing was an example of excessive use of force. They and heavily armed law enforcement clashed in the streets for days after Brown’s death.

Authorities, who drove armored vehicles and wore military gear, were roundly criticized by members of the media, other law enforcement officials and demonstrators for escalating the violence, rather than tempering it. Law enforcement also was accused of blocking and, in some cases, attacking journalists who were trying to report on the situation.

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Source: CNN | Ashley Fantz

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