This week, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office confirmed that a grand jury continues to hear evidence and that they expect a decision on charges for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson soon. Although I can’t predict the outcome of the process or what may occur as a result of the decision, as the City’s Chief of Police, I can reassure you of the Metropolitan Police Department’s commitment to your safety and your rights.
No matter what the announcement is, the department’s first priority is to protect and serve our citizens…and that includes protesters. And we are ready to do so.
Our department has sat down with protest organizers and had valuable conversations to ensure their rights are protected. We have also met with residents, neighborhood groups, other City departments, other police departments, elected officials and business owners to assure them of our commitment to their safety.
We have consistently said the same thing to everyone: While everyone is welcomed to the City of St. Louis to exercise their First Amendment rights and let their voices be heard and their cause advanced, doing so while putting the lives of other citizens or officers at risk will not be tolerated.
So far, unlike Los Angeles in 1992 and Cincinnati in 2001, there has been no loss of life as a result of civil unrest. I credit our officers’ training and the protesters’ organizers for that.