Local law enforcement put out a public plea Thursday asking local college activists to keep their cool when a grand jury report is releasedon the fatal August shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evanspublished an open letter on the department’s Bpdnews.com blog titled, “A message to Boston’s college and university students,” and said he was writing to ask for their help.
“The entire country is anxiously awaiting the grand jury decision in Ferguson over whether or not charges will be brought against a police officer. Demonstrations are likely across the country,” Evans wrote. ” I ask that if public demonstrations occur as a result of the decision they are done with respect to our neighbors and businesses, responsibly and peacefully.”
The grand jury has been meeting for three months to determine whether police officer Darren Wilson broke the law when he shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. Weeks of sometimes violent protests followed Brown’s death, and businesses and schools around Ferguson are bracing for another wave of unrest, particularly if the grand jury does not charge Wilson.
A decision is imminent.
Bostonians are no strangers to public demonstrations. In 2011, Occupy Boston swept over Dewey Square, and protests are frequently held on a variety of issues outside the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill. The city also has a history of racial tension, and a racist reputation that public leaders, like former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, have tried to extinguish.
As the grand jury decision approaches, Evans asked students to be wary of “outside agitators trying to provoke and instigate otherwise peaceful protests.”
“Boston has overcome much, and we have a strong history of coming together in times of challenges and crisis, as demonstrated in our community during the Boston Marathon,” Evans said. “We showed then how Boston stayed united and we can show that again with Ferguson and all of the important issues facing us in society today.”
“Pending the imminent grand jury decision, if you choose to demonstrate please do so in a way that would make your school, your family, and your city proud,” Evans said.