The National Guard may be called in if the impending verdict in the murder trial of a former St. Louis officer leads to protests, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said Wednesday.
Greitens said he’ll bring in the National Guard if it’s necessary to keep order, but emphasized he isn't out to curb anyone's right to peacefully protest.
“We’re going to protect people’s constitutional rights and we’re going to protect public safety,” Greitens said. “And in order to do both of those things — protecting everybody’s constitutional right and protect public safety — we will use every tool at our disposal.”
Greitens said he has been in contact with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and Mayor Lyda Krewson about the possibility of protests should Jason Stockley be acquitted in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith.
Activists have promised days of protests if there is an acquittal. It isn’t clear when the judge will rule. Krewson put out a video on Tuesday urging calm ahead of the verdict.
Greitens spoke Wednesday at St. Peters aerospace parts manufacturer Seyer Industries, which has added more than 100 jobs and is expanding its facility.
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