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Local Pastors Head to Ferguson Ahead of Grand Jury Decision

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SACRAMENTO-

Sacramento-area clergy are preparing to travel to Ferguson, Missouri to help keep potential protests peaceful ahead of the impending grand jury decision.

"It was definitely engaging and, at times, it was a state of real concern," Pastor Les Simmons, of ACT Sacramento, said Monday of the last time he was in Ferguson.

Any day, the St. Louis County grand jury will release its decision on whether or not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown.

Brown was unarmed when he was shot six times by Wilson, but Wilson says he was defending himself.

"The killing of Michael Brown sparked a release of, 'We want our voices heard, we're going to march until change happens,'" Simmons said.

But Simmons believes any abuse of power will come from individual officers, not any agency or force as a whole. It's a similar situation with protesters, Simmons says, which is why clergy members are needed in order to provide a calming presence.

"You saw maybe five individuals or so that wanted their voice to be heard in a different way," Simmons told FOX40. "Well, clergy person in some cases can go and say, 'Hey, let's continue to support peaceful protest.'"

Monday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency ahead of the grand jury's decision.