Exclusive: St. Louis police chief calls for calm in Ferguson

Grand jury decision could come any day


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," November 13, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Developing tonight, we are getting reports that the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, is close to a decision now on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

With that decision coming any day, President Obama today said he has a quote "real heart-driven concern" about the prospect of another round of violence in Ferguson. Attorney General Eric Holder also spoke up saying he hopes the law enforcement response is appropriate and proportionate. And one local community in the St. Louis area sending a letter to residents telling them to prepare for the worst, suggesting they should stock up on water, nonperishable food items, prescriptions and gasoline, saying they may be indoors for several days.

Joining me now for a "Kelly File" exclusive, St. Louis County police Chief Jon Belmar, who is one of the men in charge of Ferguson response.

Chief, thank you for being here tonight. I know that if and when this grand jury returns its decision that you and two other police departments will be operating under a unified command system. The Missouri governor talked about the possibility of bringing the National Guard back to keep the peace. Have you been given any heads up as to when to expect the news?

JON BELMAR, ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, you know, the governor spoke to us last week. And you know we had a meeting with him. I think part of the plan is perhaps the National Guard, we saw that last time. I don't think that's unusual. I've been working very closely with Chief Sam Dotson in the city, Captain Ron Johnson here with the Highway Patrol and a lot of our municipal partners to formulate a good plan to keep people safe.

I heard what you said stocking up on food and staying inside. I'll be honest with you. I think that's an overreaction. I certainly hope that is. As far as the guard goes, that's going to be the governor's decision. I think we saw last time that the guard was able to play a support role. They really weren't out front. They did some force protection for us, took care of the command post.

KELLY: Some people are criticizing the governor for even saying that's still an option, saying that that possibility is an overreaction and might only heighten potential anger from the residents seeing the National Guard come in.

BELMAR: Sure. Well, I understand that. But I think you got to recognize here in St. Louis there's quite a bit of anxiety in the community, really in the protester community and really on the part of law enforcement, too, regarding this decision. We saw what happened in August. It wasn't always perfect in August. And because of that, I believe people are looking at this and they're saying hey, what could happen this time.  There was a lot of rhetoric out there and there is a lot of threats, frankly. People are paying attention to those things.

KELLY: President Obama came out and said that he urged a small group of the nation's top civil rights leaders and their groups to work to keep the peace. Do you believe there's a real danger of, you know, the safety of your residents and the surrounding counties if this grand jury declines to return an indictment against Officer Wilson?

BELMAR: Well, I certainly hope not. Listen, we had 11 days of pretty serious riots that occurred after some peaceful protests. We were fortunate we haven't lost any lives. And we really can't keep from planning in case those things would happen. But I got to believe I have more faith in this community than that. Again, I think.


KELLY: With all due respect, we saw it, too.

BELMAR: Uh-huh.

KELLY: And there is so much anger there over race relations, over this shooting, over the way it's been portrayed, whether you know that's accurate or not, the viewers can make up their own minds. But I don't know that our audience has the same doubts you do. I mean, this community looks like a powder keg. And if this grand jury does what the community thinks is the wrong thing, I mean, all hell could break loose, could it not?

BELMAR: Well, you know, we saw that on August 10. Trust me, when I stepped out of my car on West Florissant Avenue about 9:00 p.m. on August 10th. I've been here 28 years, been in law enforcement for 28 years. I'd never seen anything like that.

But here's the deal, we have been constantly -- we, being law enforcement -- engaging the community. I talk to young people, I talk to different groups. I make sure they know who we are, what we can do to change, what we can do moving forward. Their voices have to be heard.

I met with a group the other day called Lost Voices. And these guys are unique because they're young people. And oftentimes -- sometimes, their voices are lost. But they went to do a press conference with me perhaps over the weekend and talk about making sure we don't have violence. That's a step forward.

KELLY: Let's hope that that's how this turns out one way or the other, no matter how the grand jury decides its case. Chief, good to see you. Thank you for being here.

BELMAR: Sure. Thank you, Megyn.

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