In Tone Shift, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Vows to Guard Rights of Protesters

Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s actions underscore rising tensions in the St. Louis region, which has seen months of protests since the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s actions underscore rising tensions in the St. Louis region, which has seen months of protests since the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon pledged yesterday that St. Louis-region authorities will protect the rights of protesters to stage mass demonstrations, marking a shift in tone from last week when he vowed the National Guard and several police agencies would crush any violent outbreaks.

“We are working extremely hard to make sure there are a broad range of opportunities for people to speak,” Nixon told reporters awaiting the decision of a grand jury in the August shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in suburban Ferguson. “The principles of community policing are going to be out in the forefront here.”

Nixon, a 58-year-old Democrat, is seeking to strike a balance between allowing free expression and protecting the public as he faces criticism from civil-rights activists including Jesse Jackson for declaring a state of emergency in anticipation of violence if the grand jury declines to indict the officer, Darren Wilson.

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Source: Bloomberg | Mark Niquette, Elizabeth Campbell and Toluse Olorunnipa

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