A 50-group coalition concerned about issues related to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., have asked officials to agree to “rules of engagement” for protests expected after a grand jury decision about whether the killing was justified, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. “Don’t Shoot Coalition” members said police should value safety first, and agree to a “de-militarized response” that would bar the use of armored vehicles, rubber bullets, rifles and tear gas.
The group seeks 48 hours' advance notice of the decision’s announcement. Members are asking police to respect safe spaces set up in houses of worship near each anticipated area of protests, and to ensure protesters can reach those spaces. Coalition co-chair Michael McPhearson of Veterans For Peace said the group “must do what we can to ensure there's not loss of life.” He said, “We want to de-escalate violence, but we do not want to de-escalate action.” Members said they had been attempting, unsuccessfully so far, to negotiate key elements with local and federal officials. A St. Louis County grand jury has been considering whether Ferguson officer Darren Wilson should face charges for the fatal shooting Aug. 9 of the unarmed Brown, 18. Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch doesn’t expect a decision until mid- to late November.