ST. LOUIS – Governor Eric Greitens has taken the initial steps to activate the Missouri National Guard in anticipation of possible events relating to the Jason Stockley decision.
"As governor, I am committed to protecting everyone's constitutional right to protest peacefully while also protecting people's lives, homes, and communities. Taking the steps to put the Missouri National Guard on standby is a necessary precaution,” Governor Eric Greitens said.
The Missouri National Guard is now preparing to help protect critical infrastructures around St. Louis and free up law enforcement to protect people’s right to protest peacefully.
Earlier this week, Gov. Greitens met with faith leaders in St. Louis and assured them the rights of peaceful protesters will be protected, but stressed any protests veering into violence will not be tolerated.
"Too often in the past in Missouri, leaders have waited for pain to visit us before we make a decision to visit with each other," Greitens said. "Too often in our country, leaders have waited for sirens to be blaring and people to be screaming before we decide that it's time to sit down and talk. And of course, then it's just hard to hear each other above the noise."
Activists have threatened civil disobedience that could include shutting down highways, airports or businesses if Stockley is acquitted in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Barricades have been placed around two downtown courthouses and the police station.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.