The grand jury looking into the Ferguson police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown could take up to two months, well into October, to hear all the evidence and decide whether or not to indict the police officer, the St. Louis County prosecutor said today.
Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug.9, and protesters have been angrily calling for Wilson's arrest and indictment since that day.
Prosecutor David McCullough said that though the grand jury could begin hearing evidence in the case today, "our target date is the middle of October" for wrapping up the evidence and asking the jury to decide whether to charge Wilson. Grand juries typically meet one day a week.
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The news came today as protesters and police faced off again in Ferguson overnight, with a thrown water bottle briefly re-igniting the turmoil, but authorities are hopeful the unrest in the St. Louis suburb is reaching a turning point.
Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, speaking at an early-morning news conference, thanked volunteers, clergy and community activists for helping to quell the discontent that has lingered since the Aug. 9 police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
“They had a calming influence on the younger people,” Johnson said. “Tonight, we saw a different dynamic.”
Charlie Riedel/AP Photo
PHOTO: Protesters join hands during a protest in Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 20, 2014.
Authorities arrested 47 people overnight, including one person for the third time, Johnson said. Some of those arrested had made threats to kill a police officer, Johnson said, but the clashes didn’t feature some of the heightened measures of previous nights. No Molotov cocktails or shootings from protesters, no smoke bombs or tear gas from police.
Jeff Roberson/AP Photo
PHOTO: A man is arrested as police try to disperse a crowd in Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 20, 2014.
Attorney General Eric Holder is also scheduled to travel to Ferguson today to meet with FBI and other officials carrying out an independent federal investigation into Brown's death.
Holder addressed the situation in an editorial for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent,” Holder wrote. “And beyond the investigation itself, we will work with the police, civil rights leaders, and members of the public to ensure that this tragedy can give rise to new understanding — and robust action — aimed at bridging persistent gaps between law enforcement officials and the communities we serve.”
Charlie Riedel/AP Photo
PHOTO: People help a woman sprayed with chemicals after police attempted to disperse a protest in Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 20, 2014.
The overnight unrest followed the Tuesday St. Louis police shooting of a 23-year-old black man after he charged at officers with a knife. After the fatal shooting, onlookers began chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “no justice, no peace.” The chants have been a hallmark of the protests in nearby Ferguson.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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