Clayton police chief releases statement ahead of grand jury announcement -

Clayton police chief releases statement ahead of grand jury announcement

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) -- The police chief in the St. Louis County seat of Clayton says his department will both protect protesters' rights and the safety of people and businesses once the grand jury decision in the Ferguson case is announced.

Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy released a statement Friday acknowledging reports that demonstrators may disrupt downtown Clayton after the announcement. The grand jury is considering whether to charge Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.

Murphy says his department will work to maintain the safety of protesters. At the same time, he says police will work to make sure that health care, transportation and other critical services are not interrupted.

Murphy notes that several protests have occurred in Clayton, and most have been peaceful.

The following is a statement from Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy

We are aware of recent media accounts announcing demonstrators’ plans to disrupt downtown Clayton on the first business day after the Grand Jury announcement.  We continue to support demonstrators' rights to have their voices heard, and part of our planning has involved maintaining the safety of demonstrators.  At the same time, we cannot risk public health or safety.  Organizations in downtown Clayton provide a wide array of critical services, including health care, employment services, transportation, public safety, child care, and social services for the elderly and disabled among others. These services support not just this city but also the entire county.  We have plans in place to help ensure that these services aren’t interrupted.

To date, numerous demonstrations have taken place in our city related to the events that began in Ferguson over the summer.  They have been largely peaceful, with few arrests.  

Throughout this period, the City of Clayton and the Clayton Police Department have worked to facilitate the demonstrators’ constitutional right of assembly and expression, and to support an environment that is safe for all concerned—our residents, businesses, visitors and demonstrators.   In some cases, organizers have worked with us to achieve our common goal to promote the safety of all concerned. In others, where organizers have chosen not to work with us in advance, we have remained as flexible as possible. We continue to be open to working cooperatively with organizing groups. 

We also remain committed to continuing to communicate with our community about these events. 

Chief Kevin Murphy

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