Critics are assailing Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision to deploy armed National Guard troops to Ferguson — for the looming grand jury decision of whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown — as an act of provocation.
“This is why it’s a really bad idea. It’s almost egging them on, telling protesters before hand that troops will be there,” said Trevor Burrus, a research fellow at the CATO institute. “If this comes down with no charges, they are going to feel a double injustice against them.”
Protesters are already planning to shut down roads in Clayton following the jury’s decision, and are hoping to attract more people from outside of Ferguson to participate in civil disobedience.
Since 2001, the National Guard has been deployed in Missouri 32 times.
Although the Guard is normally used for natural disaster relief, it is not uncommon for a governor to deploy troops for crowd control, but such cases have led to disaster in the past, most famously the shooting of several students at Kent State University in Ohio in May 1970.
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush federalized all 10,000 National Guard troops to control rioting an looting in Los Angeles following the release of a videotape showing two white police officers beating a black man, Rodney King. Over the next six days, 53 people were killed and over 2,000 injured in the “Rodney King riots.”
This is the second time that the National Guard has been sent to assist local police in Ferguson following the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson.