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Missouri governor on alert for unrest ahead of St. Louis verdict

Missouri governor on alert for unrest ahead of St. Louis verdict
From Reuters - September 7, 2017

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has said he is prepared to call out the National Guard if a pending verdict in the murder trial of a former police officer charged with killing a black man sparks protests that turn violent.

Judge Timothy Wilson has not announced the timing of a verdict in the bench trial of Jason Stockley, who pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the 2011 death of Anthony Smith following a car chase, but St. Louis has been on edge for days.

We are going to protect peoples constitutional rights and we are going to protect public safety, Greitens told reporters on Wednesday. We will use every tool at our disposal in order to do that. It absolutely includes the possibility of working with the National Guard.

On Tuesday, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said anxiety and worry gripped a city where residents remember the 2014 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, which sparked months of protests.

Greitens has criticized former Governor Jay Nixon for failing to respond with sufficient force to control the 2014 protests in Ferguson.

Activists promised major demonstrations if Stockley is acquitted, and city officials erected barricades outside courthouses and the police station.

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