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Nov 22, 2014 5:25 PM

Ferguson announcement does not appear imminent

The Associated Press

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) Crews erected barricades Saturday around the building where a grand jury has been considering whether to indict the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, even though there was no sign that the grand jury had reached a decision.

Tension has been mounting in Ferguson and elsewhere in the St. Louis area in recent days, with many speculating that the grand jury's decision would be announced on Sunday. That seemed increasingly unlikely by Saturday afternoon, although there was a noticeable uptick in the preparations being made.

Ben Crump, the attorney for Brown's parents, told The Associated Press he hadn't heard anything about a decision, and that prosecutors had promised to tell him when one was reached.

Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, said at around noon on Friday that the grand jury was still meeting. He did not return several messages Saturday.

The 12-member grand jury has been considering whether charges are warranted against Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed the 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9. during a confrontation on a Ferguson street. Wilson is white and Brown, who was unarmed, is black.

There have been many demonstrations in the months since Brown's death, including some that were violent. Police arrested three protesters on Friday night the third straight night of unrest in Ferguson.

On Saturday, the authorities set up barricades around the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton, which is where the grand jury has been meeting.

Barricades also went up in the shopping center parking lot on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, which was where police set up a makeshift command center in the immediate aftermath of Brown's death.

Several businesses in both Ferguson and Clayton have put boards on their windows.

Residents were on edge, too.

Jamie Freeman of Ferguson, 38, a registered nurse and mother of four, said she was especially concerned since her 20-year-old son lives in the neighborhood where Brown was shot.

"I just hope it stays peaceful," Freeman said of protests that will follow the grand jury decision. "We all have human emotions, bit there's a way to do things, and violence, you can't get peace from violence."

Crump, the Brown family attorney, seemed doubtful that Wilson would be charged, saying the grand jury process is weighted against those shot by police officers.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time the police officer is not held accountable for killing a young black boy," Crump said. "The police officer gets all the consideration."

The FBI has sent nearly 100 additional agents to Ferguson to help law enforcement agencies, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the FBI plans.

But things were calm during the day on Saturday. Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., joined a church group in passing out free turkeys to needy residents in the area where his son was shot. A day earlier, a video of Brown Sr. was released urging peace, regardless of how the announcement goes.


Salter reported from St. Louis.


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