(CNN) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday ahead of an expected grand jury decision in the case of Michael Brown.
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.
“I… direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region,” part of Gov. Nixon’s executive order read.
The St. Louis suburb has simmered with anger since the day in August when 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot multiple times by Officer Darren Wilson. Brown was unarmed.
With the grand jury expected to deliver its decision any day, people worry that tensions could boil over — not only in Ferguson, but at demonstrations in more than 30 cities from Boston to Los Angeles organized by a group called the Ferguson National Response Network, mostly for the day after the decision is announced.
While most protests in Ferguson have been peaceful, some devolved into violence, especially in the nights immediately after the shooting. The imminent decision has renewed concerns over clashes between protesters and heavily armed law enforcement officers, especially if Wilson is not indicted.
There has been no announcement yet about whether or not the grand jury has reached a decision.
We’ll continue to update you as this develops.