Missouri State awaits Grand Jury Decision

Missouri Highway Patrol deputies in standoff against protesters. Photo credit: Briana Simmons

Missouri Highway Patrol deputies in standoff against protesters.
Photo credit: Briana Simmons

Khadijah Forrest, The Black Bear – On Aug. 9 the white officer shot the unarmed black teenager in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Brown reportedly was walking in the middle of the street when he was stopped by Wilson. After an alleged confrontation, Wilson fired multiple shots at Brown ending with the teenager’s death.

Witnesses say Brown had his hands up surrendering leading to the popular slogan, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!”

On the night of Aug. 10, St. Louis residents came from all over the city and began looting and vandalizing businesses down the street of W. Florissant Ave. In result, at least twelve businesses were looted and vandalized and a Quik Trip gas station was looted and set on fire.

Since that night, police have been in riot gear and firing tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds of peaceful protesters in the area to prevent another night of violence.

St. Louis officials are expecting the same outcome if the officer is not indicted by the grand jury.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch made an announcement early November that the decision may be released between mid-to-late November.

According to St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK, the jury is made up of seven men and five women. Nine of the grand jury are white and three are black.

Tyra Jenkins, junior biology major at University of Missouri – St. Louis, said, “Many people are very upset about the lingering amount of time it is taking for the verdict to be announced. There are many people scared of violence erupting if Officer Wilson is not sent to trial.”

Schools in the Ferguson area are also preparing homework packets for the elementary children to take home in case the district has to close schools for a period of time.

Some local churches plan to open their doors when the verdict is announced so families can have somewhere safe to go if necessary.

Missouri State University’s Division on Diversity and Inclusion and student leaders have put on a number of events this semester regarding the racial tensions on campus and nationwide since the shooting occurred.

While the verdict of Wilson is still pending, the university is scheduling several events and programs for students to engage in discussion to express their feelings and reflect on what is happening in St. Louis.

For more information contact the Multicultural Resource Center or go to this link for updates.

According to CNN, the grand jury has reached a decision and will announce the verdict sometime on Monday.

St. Louis residents and police departments are on the edge as they await the grand jury decision on whether or not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown that occurred three months ago.

Gov. Jay Nixon issued a state of emergency on Nov. 17 and has activated the National Guard to come to St. Louis when the jury announces their decision. The state of emergency will expire in 30 days unless it is necessary to extend it.

According to NBC News, in a conference call with reporters, Nixon said he doesn’t expect any violence however he stated, “I have a responsibility to plan for any contingencies that might arise.”

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