Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard ahead of possible protests and riots in the wake of a decision that was handed down in the Breonna Taylor case.
Describing the move as a precaution, Parson said his office is “saddened by recent acts of violence that have occurred in some cities across the nation.”
“We fully support the right of citizens to peacefully protest and are committed to protecting that right. At this time, we are taking a proactive approach in the event that assistance is needed to support local law enforcement in protecting Missouri and its people,” he added.
The executive order declares a state of emergency exists in Missouri over “civil unrest,” calling on the state adjutant general “take such action and employ such equipment as may be necessary in support of civilian authorities and provide such assistance as may be authorized and directed by” the governor’s office.
There were riots, unrest, and protests in St. Louis and other Missouri cities in the wake of George Floyd’s police-involved death over the summer. In one instance of looting in the midst of rioting, former officer David Dorn was shot and killed in a live-streamed incident as he was guarding a friend’s pawn shop.
A spokeswoman for Missouri’s governor’s office told FOX2 that the order was signed due to civil unrest in other cities, including Louisville, Kentucky. A grand jury in the state decided against charging police in Taylor’s death, although an officer faces charges for firing shots indiscriminately into her home and her neighbor’s house.
This week, Louisville police arrested several-dozen people for rioting and vandalism in the city.
Kentucky Attorney General David Cameron announced that a grand jury indicted fired Officer Brett Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment for shooting indiscriminately into Taylor’s home as well as into a home next to Taylor’s after police entered her house on March 13. The FBI is still investigating potential violations of federal law in the case.
“I understand that as a Black man, how painful this is … which is why it was so incredibly important to make sure that we did everything we possibly could to uncover every fact,” Cameron told a news conference in the capital of Frankfort.
But Cameron said that under the law, the officers who fired their weapons at Taylor were justified in using force to protect themselves after they were shot at by her boyfriend.
“If we simply act on emotion or outrage, there is no justice,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.