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 Dooley And Slay Advise Public To 'Calm Down' In Runup To Grand Jury Decision

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PostSubject: Dooley And Slay Advise Public To 'Calm Down' In Runup To Grand Jury Decision   Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:47 pm

As St. Louis residents nervously await a decision regarding Michael Brown’s shooting death, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley had a simple piece of advice.

“Take a deep breath, stand back and calm down,” Dooley said.

Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told reporters on Wednesday that law enforcement agencies are prepared to protect lives and property – and the rights of protesters – if Wilson isn’t charged with Michael Brown’s shooting death.

But the two emphasized that people shouldn’t automatically assume that widespread violence will break out after the grand jury decision. Dooley said “the images and the reports that our region is preparing for war are unfortunate.”

Listen Listening...8:18

Slay and Dooley gave these remarks before answering questions from reporters at Wednesday's press conference in Clayton.
“What you don’t see are the money images of people from all walks of life working together to ensure peaceful protests and work on long-term solutions,” Dooley said. “Those make up the majority of the St. Louis region. Rumors on social media, leaks from the grand jury and relentless media attention are inflaming tensions and creating hysteria. And we all need to be more responsible in what we do and how we communicate.”

Slay told reporters that the pair’s appearance at the St. Louis County Administration Building was a response of sorts to Gov. Jay Nixon’s Tuesday press conference. He said “neither of us know what’s going to happen with the grand jury or what will happen thereafter.” But, he added, “both the city government and county government are working together very closely to prepare for whatever is to come when that does happen.”

“We are going to keep people and their homes safe, always. And that’s our number one main effort that we’re undertaking,” Slay said. “We are going to protect the constitutional rights of the peaceful protesters. We are going to move our region forward, regardless of what happens.”

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio
Slay went onto say that St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar and St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department chief Sam Dotson will speak with reporters on Thursday. He said he’s told Dotson that protesters should have leeway to “occupy public spaces if that is their choice.”

“But I’ve also told him that it is his first job to keep all of our citizens safe and to prevent violence and looting,” Slay said. “Violence is not a constitutionally-protected right. Damaging property is not constitutionally protected. Inciting violence that is an immediate threat is not protected by the Constitution.”

Both Slay and Dooley said they didn’t know whether there would be advanced notice of when the grand jury decision would come out. And Dooley said he hasn’t talked with St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger about preparing for the decision.

Listen Listening...12:10

The above audio is part of Dooley and Slay's question and answer period with reporters at Wednesday's press conference, including whether they know if there will be any advanced notice of a grand jury decision.
And when Dooley was asked whether he would call for a county state of emergency after the decision – which Stenger said earlier this year should have occurred after Michael Brown’s death -- he responded:

“Let me say this – you’re assuming that something’s going to go wrong. I’m assuming that things will go right,” Dooley said. “This is a great place to live. People are very civilized. They’re going to do the right thing for the right reason. The majority of our constituency are good people. They want law and order. Why would I think anything different?”

“That’s the whole point of this press conference,” he added. “Let’s calm down. Let’s start thinking realistically.”



http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/dooley-and-slay-advise-public-calm-down-runup-grand-jury-decision
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