Live Updates: Ferguson Braces For Grand Jury's Decision

St. Louis County prosecutor is expected to announce at 8 p.m. CT Monday whether the grand jury decided to indict police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon issued a state of emergency last week, calling up the National Guard to assist local law enforcement.

What We Know So Far


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LAPD on tactical alert in response to looming grand jury decision.

The Los Angeles Police Department went on a citywide tactical alert Monday ahead of the decision from the grand jury tasked with deciding whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson.

The move, said LAPD Officer Drake Madison, allows the department to keep officers from an earlier shift available.

"We hold on to (officers) a little bit longer to monitor what's going on," Madison said. "We will not and cannot condone violence and vandalism, but we do want to help people express their opinions."

Also on Monday, pastors of the Praises of Zion Baptist Church held a press conference with the LAPD calling for peaceful demonstrations.

"We are expecting the best, but prepared for the worst," Madison said.

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St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said Monday evening that his primary concern was the safety of residents.

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Protests began Monday evening in several locations around Ferguson.

About 75-100 protesters marching down South Florissant chanting "fuck the police!" Several cop cars just showed up.

Protesters blocking off Airport Rd in #Ferguson, stage die-in at intersection.

A wide shot of protesters gathered in front of the #Ferguson Police Department. @550KTRS

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Gov. Jay Nixon called Monday afternoon for "peace, respect, and restraint."

Nixon described spending time with Ferguson residents as well as speaking with faith leaders and law enforcement in the area.

"Together, we are all focused on making sure the resources are on hand to protect lives, protect property and protect free speech," he said.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley echoed the governor's focus on protecting public safety and First Amendment rights.

"I do not want people to think they need to barricade their doors or take up arms," he said. "We are not that kind of community."

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay pointed to Sunday night's protest in Shaw as a success. There, protesters temporarily blocked traffic with only two instances of vandalism, and no serious injuries, he said.

Protesters may again be allowed to slow traffic, he said, and residents who disagreed with them should be prepared for some inconveniences.

"Turning violent or damaging property will not be tolerated," he said.

Dan Isom, director of the state's department of public safety, said law enforcement had spent the last months training and preparing for Monday night's announcement.

"The plan is designed for all contingencies," he said, "but we hope that officers will only observe peaceful protests."

Watch the full press conference here.

View this video on YouTube
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The St. Louis County prosecutor's office said Monday it will release evidence heard by the grand jury if Officer Darren Wilson is not indicted, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Prosecutor Bob McCulloch had promised for months to release the evidence in the interest of transparency. He previously sought a court order for permission, but on Monday, his office said he would release it regardless of any action by a judge.

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The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police announced it was taking its website down, citing "security concerns."

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Quiet in Ferguson ahead of news of the grand jury decision, reports BuzzFeed News' Joel Anderson.

Other than a few small clusters of media and cops, it seems like no one is outside in St Louis tonight. #Ferguson

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All public school districts in Ferguson announced that classes would be canceled on Tuesday.
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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon planned to speak Monday evening in advance of an announcement of the grand jury's decision.

.@GovJayNixon to hold press briefing at 5.30 PM "calling for peace" in anticipation of announcement from Grand Jury

A number of area school districts canceled activities in advance of the announcement.

Lindbergh School District (nowhere near #Ferguson) has canceled all after-school activities & events for tonight due to grand jury decision.

And now @ParkwaySchools cancels after school activities. Not many are left that haven't.

Some businesses also closed their doors and boarded up windows.

QuikTrip has voluntarily closed 4 locations in and around #ferguson ahead of tonight's #GrandJuryDecision @ksdknews

Officials prepared the area around the courthouse for potential protests, and courthouse employees left work early.

Looking for somewhere to toss my drink in downtown Clayton and soon realized all trashcans have been removed. #Ferguson

Covered up police memorial at St. Louis County Police HQ. #Ferguson

Still, the Ferguson Public Library vowed to stay open.

Many other orgs closing. But we will stay open to serve people of #Ferguson as long as safe for patrons & staff, up to 8p. Love each other.

A number of churches also said they would provide safe haven.

Many churches in the #ferguson and #StL area will open as 24-hour safe spaces following grand jury announcements

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St. Louis County Police asked for donations of gift cards and other items on Monday for its officers preparing to work during protests in Ferguson.

Facebook: permalink.php
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Prosecutor's office confirms decision to be announced Monday.

St. Louis Co Prosecutor's office confirms the #Ferguson grand jury decision will be announced later today.

The St. Louis County grand jury has heard months of evidence concerning the confrontation between Brown, 18, who is black, and Wilson, who is white.

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Attorney says decision to be announced Monday evening.

Attorney for Michael Brown's family, Benjamin Crump, told the Associated Press that the St. Louis County prosecutor's office said the grand jury has made its decision whether to indict Darren Wilson for the shooing of the unarmed teen.

The grand jury has been considering a number of possible charges in connection with the Aug. 9 shooting including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

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Several news organizations, including CNN and the Washington Post, are reporting that a decision has been reached by the grand jury on whether to charge Darren Wilson. A press conference by the St. Louis County prosecutor is expected Monday.

While it is reported there will be an announcement that a decision has been reached, it is still unclear if the actual decision will be released on Monday.

Sources telling us the grand jury has made a decision. Press conference at 4. One source says they won't ANNOUNCE decision today. #Ferguson

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Officer Darren Wilson gets married.

While the grand jury deliberated about whether to charge Darren Wilson with fatally shooting Michael Brown and protesters' questioned the officer's whereabouts, he had secretly been planning a wedding.

A public information official at the Department of Revenue Recorder of Deeds confirmed to BuzzFeed News that Officer Darren Wilson entered the St. Louis County office in October in Clayton, Missouri (a 20-minute drive from Ferguson), to obtain a marriage license.

On Oct. 24, he was wed to 37-year-old Barbara Spradling, also a Ferguson police officer. Greg Kloeppel, one of Wilson's attorneys, attended the ceremony.

Public records indicate that the couple had previously been married; the divorce settled in November 2013. They currently own a home together in Crestwood, Missouri, roughly 17 miles away from Ferguson.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Michael Brown, Sr. and his wife, Cal, were baptized at West Calvary Mission Baptist Church. It was an event that the entire family, including Michael Brown, Jr., had planned several months ago.

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Officer Darren Wilson has been meeting with major television personalities to negotiate an interview.

For those asking, yes I met with Darren Wilson regarding an interview. Not out of the ordinary. @CNNTonight @brianstelter

For the record, I met briefly with Darren Wilson a few days ago to see if he wanted to do an interview with me. That's standard procedure

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Protesters marched in Shaw, Missouri, Sunday night in memory of VonDerrit Myers, an armed 18-year-old who was shot by an off-duty police officer in October.

About 100 marching West on Shaw #VonDerritMyers #Ferguson #shaw

With a broader message against police violence toward black men, protesters shut down several intersections in the area.

Protest has shut down intersection of Kingshighway, Shenandoah & Southwest Ave in STL

They vow hold the intersection for 4 1/2 minutes in honor of 4 1/2 hours Mike Brown's body on the ground in Ferguson

In each location, protesters stopped for 4 1/2 minutes in memory of the 4 1/2 hours the body of Michael Brown laid in a Ferguson street after he was shot by a police officer.

Protesters walking over major bridge in St Louis, all traffic has been blocked for demonstrations.

One driver appeared to argue with protesters, then potentially threw something out of his vehicle as he drove away.

A reporter was struck in the head, in the only apparent act of violence of the night.

Our victim @mattdpearce, post-treatment from the protest medics who he is now interviewing

Some residents greeted the passing protesters with clapping, and a group of children ran out to say hello.
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An administrator for the St. Louis County Court said a judge has not agreed to release all evidence heard by the grand jury deliberating whether Officer Darren Wilson should face criminal charges.

The report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch cast doubt on a promise by county prosecutor Robert McCulloch. For months, McCulloch has said he would seek a court order to release evidence should the grand jury fail to indict Wilson. He also said a judge agreed to his plan, the Post-Dispatch reported.

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A photo journalist was among those arrested at demonstrates outside the Ferguson Police Headquarters Saturday night.

The St. Louis County Police Department confirmed via Twitter that Trey Yingst was taken into custody Saturday night.

@TreyYingst reporter from D.C. taken into custody for failure to disperse. Was asked to leave street by the commander and refused. #Ferguson

Several journalists on the scene, including Jon Swaine of The Guardian and Ryan Reilly of Huffington Post, tweeted about the arrest as it happened. Reilly challenged the police explanation and posted a video in which Yingst himself said he was on a public sidewalk.

According to Yingst's Twitter bio, he works for Images from the scene showed that at least one other person was arrested Saturday night.

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Numerous media outlets are now reporting there will be no grand jury decision this weekend.

Both CNN ( and Bloomberg ( report sources say no Ferguson grand jury decision this weekend

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Barricades are being erected around government buildings in St. Louis county ahead of the grand jury verdict.

Barricades going up inside St. Louis County Govt. building and outside @stlcountypd HQ in Clayton. #Ferguson

Barricades going up around St. Louis County Police HQ. @FOX2now

Barricades going up outside police headquarters in St. Louis County.

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Two men have been charged for illegally buying guns near Ferguson.

The illegal gun sales happened earlier this month and involved Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Olajuwon Davis, according to court documents. The documents explain that the men tried to buy a pair of .45 caliber pistols from a Cabela's store in Hazelwood, which is located about five miles from Ferguson.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the men are affiliated with the New Black Panther Party. They were indicted on federal charges earlier this week and their court documents were unsealed Friday, according to the Post-Dispatch.

ABC News also reported the arrests, saying that investigators were trying to determine if the men had also tried to get explosives.

The existence, or not, of explosives caused some confusion Friday night. CBS News first reported the two men were arrested for buying explosives, but later removed the references and mentioned only firearms. However, Reuters and local TV station KMOV continued to report that two suspects had been taken into custody for trying to acquire explosives they planned to use during upcoming protests.

BuzzFeed News reached out to local law enforcement for clarification and was referred to the Department of Justice. The DOJ and the FBI both failed to respond to repeated requests for comment Friday.

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President Obama Friday called on demonstrators to "keep protests peaceful."

In an interview with ABC News, Obama said that "using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are."

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As all signs pointed to a grand jury decision within days, the FBI, local law enforcement, and others braced themselves Friday for demonstrations and unrest.

The FBI said Friday it had sent about 100 agents to the St. Louis area, ABC News reported. The agency also mobilized personnel already in the region, and opened a St. Louis intelligence center Friday. The response is meant to help deal with any potential repercussions of the grand jury decision.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and other regional leaders spoke to reporters Friday about law enforcement plans for the upcoming days, reiterating a point he has made before, saying "violence will not be tolerated."

Officials also said Friday that they and protest groups have agreed to 19 "rules of engagement" for future demonstrations.

The preparations came as rumors and speculation about the timing of the grand jury decision ran rampant. Most notably, the prosecutor overseeing the case sent an email to media Friday about an upcoming news conference — with a still-undetermined date and time — on the decision. The email revealed that the grand jury was still in session.

Earlier in the week, CNN reported that the decision could come Friday or Sunday. Though CNN did not name a source, similar rumors circulated widely on social media Thursday and Friday.

Speculation over Officer Darren Wilson's future also surged Friday. According to the New York Times, city officials have encouraged Wilson — who killed Brown — to resign. The Times also reported that Wilson would not get severance pay and, while he has so far refused to step down, he does not plan on returning to the department. Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson also said Wilson was unlikely to return. However, the reports of Wilson's departure from the department contradict earlier stories that indicated Wilson could return to work "immediately" if not indicted.

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The FBI will send agents to St. Louis ahead of the grand jury decision.

JUST IN: The FBI has sent around 100 agents to the St. Louis area ahead of the Darren Wilson grand jury decision, CBS News has learned.

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Schools will be closed next week in anticipation of potential unrest.

Jennings, Mo., School District which borders Ferguson, cancels classes Mon. and Tues. out of caution for possible grand jury announcement.

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Attorney General Eric Holder wasn't happy about Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's decision to declare a state of emergency ahead of the grand jury decision.

The Washington Post reported that a top aide to Holder called Nixon, expressing the the attorney general's "frustration."

The Post reported:

"Instead of de-escalating the situation, the governor escalated it," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject. "He sent the wrong message. The tone of the press conference was counterproductive."

Senior Justice officials also told U.S. attorneys around the country on Tuesday to be in close touch with local police to prepare for any possible violence in their cities, should the grand jury decision not result in an indictment of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Brown, an unarmed black teenager, on Aug. 9.

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St. Louis Co Prosecutor says Ferguson Grand Jury is still in session, in the process of setting up a press conference

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Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday discussed minimizing "needless confrontation" between police and communities around the nation.

View this video on YouTube

Ahead of the grand jury decision, Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday released a video announcing new guidelines for avoiding conflict between police and people in times of "heightened community tension." He spoke about protests around the nation, and didn't mention Ferguson specifically.

"Over the past few months, we've seen demonstrations and protests that have sought to bring attention to real and significant underlying issues involving police practices, implicit bias, and pervasive community distrust."

Holder said his office is "providing a new guide to law enforcement officers that compiles information, tools, and best practices to maintain public safety while safeguarding constitutional rights during First Amendment-protected events."

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Officer Darren Wilson will likely leave the police department regardless of the grand jury's decision.

In a brief interview with the Chicago Tribune, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson was asked if he expects Wilson to return to the department if he is not indicted.

"I don't see it happening," Jackson said, calling it a "personnel matter."

The Tribune added:

Jackson's comments mark a reversal from earlier this month, when he indicated Wilson, who is on paid leave, would be welcomed back to the force if he is not indicted. Separately, CNN reported Thursday that Wilson was in talks with Ferguson officials to negotiate his resignation. Those talks still could collapse, the report said, but would provide a way to ease pressure in a city bracing for another round of protests if Wilson faces no legal action.

The Wall Street Journal, though, is reporting that Wilson is not in talks to resign.

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Shopkeepers growing tired of boarded-up storefronts.

The Kansas City Star reported that some store owners are growing tired of the boards placed over their businesses in anticipation of unrest after the grand jury decision.

One hair salon owner told the paper that on West Florissant Avenue, a company attached them for $350 after the windows of a nearby business were broken.

Triondus "Tree" Sleet, who owns 3 T's Beauty Salon, said they "cut out every inch of sunlight," giving her little shop, which she's owned for the past 12 years, a bunker feel.

"It's like being in prison," Sleet said this week as she worked on one of her remaining regular customers."

And the Associated Press reported that country singer Hunter Hayes canceled an appearance at Saint Louis University over concerns of unrest.

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Several arrests at Ferguson protest.

Several people were taken into custody during a peaceful protest outside police headquarters on Wednesday evening, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Some of the responding officers were in riot gear.

The several dozen protesters chanted and temporarily closed a street.

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Four hundred members of the National Guard will be stationed at 45 locations to prevent property damage and looting, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said in a letter to the Board of Aldermen Tuesday.

He reiterated the Guard would be working away from protests and again added he was committed to protecting the safety of residents while allowing protesters to exercise their rights.

Over the last weeks, he said protest organizers and officials have agreed on some rules of conduct, such as allowing a church safehouse for protesters to remain open. Other requests, such as providing notice of the grand jury decision, will not be possible, Slay said. Allowing protesters to occupy public spaces will be allowed on a case-by-case basis, he said.

Read the full letter here.

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Rev. Starsky Wilson and Rich McClure will lead the Ferguson Commission, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Tuesday.

Wilson, a pastor and president of the Deaconess Foundation, and McClure, former president of moving-van company Unigroup, will lead the 16-member group to study underlying issues raised by the Ferguson protests. A report is expected by September 2015 with recommendations on issues including the relationship between residents and law enforcement, disparities in education and economic opportunity, and racial and ethnic relations.

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The Washington Post reported that gun sales are up around Ferguson:

Ku Klux Klan leaders have handed out fliers in Ferguson that threaten "lethal force" against protesters, businesses have boarded up their storefronts, and local gun retailers say sales have skyrocketed. Law enforcement officials have warned of groups of "outside agitators" who could descend on the city after the announcement and incite violence.

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Nixon is expected to name the "Ferguson Commission" today at 2 p.m.:

The Post-Dispatch's Political Fix reported:

Last month, Gov. Jay Nixon announced he would convene a 15-member committee to address the "social and economic conditions" highlighted by protests after the killing of Michael Brown. More than 300 people applied to be on the commission. Nixon will announce and swear in the commission members at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis.

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Some elected officials in Missouri were critical of Gov. Nixon's decision to bring in the National Guard.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a vocal critic of Nixon's handling of issues in Ferguson, wasn't happy with the governor's decision. She quickly wrote a letter to President Barack Obama, asking that the federal government take control of any guard units in Ferguson.

"Based on everything I've witnessed here this week I am profoundly concerned about the potentially tragic ramifications of having the state-controlled National Guard descend on Ferguson," wrote Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City. She posted her letter on Twitter.

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The FBI warned in a bulletin that the grand jury's decision could lead to attacks on law enforcement officers, ABC News reported.

The decision, the FBI said in a bulletin, could lead "extremist protesters" to attack police and other officers around the U.S.

The warning also mentioned potential cyber-attacks on electrical facilities or water treatment plants.

As ABC News reported:

"The announcement of the grand jury's decision … will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure," the FBI says in an intelligence bulletin issued in recent days. "This also poses a threat to those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally protected activities."


Still, the bulletin's conclusions were blunt: "The FBI assesses those infiltrating and exploiting otherwise legitimate public demonstrations with the intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed with bladed weapons or firearms, equipped with tactical gear/gas masks, or bulletproof vests to mitigate law enforcement measures."

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.

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