JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard in advance of a grand jury decision about whether a white police officer will be charged in the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Nixon said Monday that the National Guard would assist state and local police as needed, in case there is civil unrest when the grand jury's decision is announced.
There was no indication an announcement is imminent. There is no specific date for a decision to be revealed about whether Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson should face charges for shooting Michael Brown on Aug. 9. The St. Louis County prosecutor has that he expects the grand jury to reach a decision in mid-to-late November.
In his executive order, Nixon cited the "possibility of expanded unrest." He said that people have the right to protest peacefully but that citizens and businesses must be protected from violence and damage.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said the plan will bring National Guard troops to the city, but he said their role is designed to be secondary to local law enforcement.
Click here for the news conference from St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, who said he agrees with Governor Nixon's decision.
"That ugliness was not representative of Missouri, and it cannot be repeated," said Nixon.
The state of emergency will expire in 30 days unless extended by another order.
Slay said he did not immediately know how many National Guard troops would be deployed to his city, which is near Ferguson, or when they would be deployed.
But he stated that the troops will "not be on the front lines, confronting protesters."
They would play a secondary role, he said, and will be partnered with local law enforcement anywhere they are posted.
While Slay emphasized the back-up role of the National Guard, he said he agreed with the governor's decision to declare a state of emergency.
The troops are needed for visibility and deterrence, Slay said.
There are too many unknowns about what the grand jury decision might be and how the public may react, he said.
Slay said that it makes sense to be prepared in case there is violence.