The Georgia National Guard is set to purchase riot gear in a sign that authorities could be following in the footsteps of the Atlanta Police Department by preparing for civil unrest in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting verdict.
According to a solicitation posted on FedBizOpps, the Georgia National Guard is looking to obtain 560 expandable riot batons as well as the same quantity of face shields. The deadline for companies to respond to the notice is today.
Although National Guard units obviously buy such equipment in the normal course of affairs, the link to potential civil unrest in the event of Officer Darren Wilson being acquitted is a reasonable connection to make given that the Atlanta Police Department is publicly preparing for domestic disorder for the same reason.
Earlier this month, the APD said it was putting some officers through “crowd control” training, while cops who had already received such training were taking refresher courses. Reporter Keith Whitney said police were preparing rotating “crowd control teams” who would each work 12 hour shifts.
“There are going to be people who come out and voice their opinions and exercise their first amendment rights,” Officer John Chafee told WXIA-TV. “And of course we would welcome anyone that’s peacefully protesting. We’re going to allow them to do that, but we’re also prepared for those who may not want to be peaceful.”
As CBS News reports, police departments across the country are bracing for potential unrest given the overwhelming likelihood that Officer Wilson will be found not guilty in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an incident that prompted weeks of violent disorder in Ferguson, Missouri.
It was also recently revealed that the Missouri National Guard had begun reserving hotel rooms in downtown St. Louis. St. Louis area schools and townships are also advising residents to stock up on water, food and medicine before the Grand Jury verdict is announced.
As we reported last month, a source within the Missouri military revealed that troops were conducting drills “to prepare for riots in Ferguson & St. Louis very soon” and that authorities were even planning to shut down airports if the disorder got out of control.
Protesters in Clayton, Missouri have been training for acts of civil disobedience which include blocking traffic, while it also emerged that President Obama met with Ferguson activists on November 5th and told them to “stay on course.”
Meanwhile, dozens of Department of Homeland Security vehicles have arrived in St. Louis over the weekend with the Grand Jury verdict in the case expected to be made this week.