Ferguson Braces for Grand Jury Decision in Michael Brown’s Shooting


Law Enforcement, Businesses Prepare for Possible Unrest With Decision on Whether to Indict Police Officer

Ben Keeling writes: Workers are boarding up windows in Ferguson, Mo., and police are re-stocking tear gas as they prepare for civil unrest that could follow a grand jury decision on whether to indict a police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old.

“Commanders in our department have been meeting almost daily,” said  “We don’t really know what to expect, but as a police department it’s our job to prepare ourselves. We can’t be caught off guard one way or another.”

— Brian Schellman, spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department

 Soon after the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson, a grand jury began deciding whether to indict the officer for his role in the death. The jury, which has been meeting weekly for the most part, could make a decision as early as mid-November, the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office said.

“Folks are outraged not only by the killing of Mike Brown, but the government’s handling of the case,” Mr. Marcano said. “I think you’ll see some level of anger no matter what the charge is.”

And as the nation awaits that decision, those on the ground are making preparations. “We’ve been doing board-ups for probably the past month, the phone’s been ringing off the hook,” said Brian Krieger, owner of American Board Up and Construction Services in St. Louis. “I’ve already purchased 500 sheets of plywood.”

He said he expects work to increase in the coming days as businesses, especially those in the Ferguson area, take precautions for the announcement.

Local police, whose military-style gear seemed to fuel some of the violent confrontations during the summer, have been increasing training and trying to find ways to diffuse protests when the grand jury decision is announced.

As things intensified in August, the state police were put in charge, and later the National Guard was called in. Now, a unified command of state, county and city police departments are gearing up. A spokesman for the unified command couldn’t be reached for comment.—Devlin Barrett contributed to this article….(read more)


Write to Ben Kesling at benjamin.kesling@wsj.com

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