Official: Ferguson grand jury still meeting - KMOV.com

Official: Ferguson grand jury still meeting

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By Daniel Greenwald By Daniel Greenwald

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- Activists, authorities and the family of Michael Brown called for calm Friday as a grand jury drew closer to an announcement in the Ferguson police shooting. But a spokesman for St. Louis County's top prosecutor said the panel is still in session.

There was no indication precisely when the grand jury would render a decision.
 
The St. Louis area was on edge as it awaited word on whether the panel would indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 death of Brown, who was 18 and unarmed when he was killed.
 
Ed Magee, a spokesman for county Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, said Friday in an email to reporters that the grand jury is still reviewing the case. The time, date and place for a news conference announcing the decision had not been decided, he wrote.
 
Wilson, 28, reportedly told the grand jury he feared for his life as Brown, who was 6-foot-4 and nearly 300 pounds, came at him. Witnesses said Brown was trying to surrender and had his hands up.
 
The shooting of a young black man by a white police officer led to protests, some of which turned violent. Demonstrations have continued for more than three months, though numbers have dwindled and violence has become uncommon.
 
Still, there were signs of rising tension.
 
Protesters were arrested Thursday outside Ferguson police headquarters for the second night in a row after around 40 demonstrators blocked South Florissant Road. One of the three people arrested pushed an officer and was hit with pepper spray, according to St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman.
 
Calls for peace and restraint emanated from several quarters -- business owners, civil rights leaders and outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. Most prominently, those calls came from Brown's father.
 
"Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer," Brown said in the video released by the group STL Forward. "No matter what the grand jury decides, I don't want my son's death to be in vain. I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone."
 
Holder on Friday issued a general reminder to police to prepare appropriately for demonstrations and to "minimize needless confrontation."
 
A video message released by Holder does not explicitly mention Ferguson, though it does reference demonstrations over the past months that have "sought to bring attention to real and significant underlying issues involving police practices."
 
"I know from firsthand experience that demonstrations like these have the potential to spark a sustained and positive national dialogue, to provide momentum to a necessary conversation and to bring about critical reform," Holder said in the video message.
 
"But history has also shown us that the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to nonaggression and nonviolence," he added.
 
Antonio Henley, owner of Prime Time Beauty and Barber Shop in Ferguson, said concern about the pending announcement is hurting business.
 
"It's been rough, especially these past few weeks leading up to the decision," Henley said. "Our business has been cut in half because the people in the community are afraid to come around."
 
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Salter reported from St. Louis. Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Jim Drinkard in Washington contributed to this report.

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