Is Ferguson grand jury close to deciding?
FERGUSON, Missouri (CNN) — As a grand jury reconvenes Monday to weigh evidence in the Michael Brown shooting, the city of Ferguson is on edge. Some businesses have boarded up and activists are prepared to protest.
Local officials told CNN that if the grand jury decides whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson on Monday, an official announcement of that decision could come soon afterward — rather than 48 hours later as previously planned.
Officials caution, however, that nothing is set and logistics are still being worked out.
Prosecutors haven’t said what their plans are.
For the grand jury, the key question is whether Wilson, who is white, will face charges in the August 9 shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black.
Though the basic facts of the case — that Brown was unarmed when Wilson shot him — are not in question, the facts of the fatal moment are hotly disputed.
Supporters of Brown’s family believe witness accounts that Wilson fired while Brown had his hands up in surrender. Wilson’s supporters say Brown was the aggressor, had tried to take Wilson’s gun while he was in his vehicle and that the officer fired in self-defense.
The 12-member grand jury is deciding whether Wilson should be charged with any one of several possible crimes, including: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, said Ed Magee, spokesman for the prosecuting attorney’s office.
The grand jury can issue an indictment on any of those four charges. It also has the option of adding a charge of armed criminal action, authorities said.
At the same time, the grand jury will receive the Missouri statutes for self-defense and the police use of deadly force. It may choose not to indict Wilson.
For weeks, the prosecutors’ office in St. Louis County has said there likely would be a decision by mid-November.
But the grand jury still has plenty of time left if it needs it. The deadline to decide is January 7.
CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed to this report.