Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ferguson Grand Jury to Reconvene Next Week
Demonstration outside of the Ferguson police station calling for the
chief to resign. The nation is awaiting a grand jury decision.
Shopkeepers in Nearby Towns Board Up Store Fronts In Anticipation of Violent Protests

Nov. 22, 2014 7:01 p.m. ET

FERGUSON, Mo.—The grand jury deciding whether to indict a police officer in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown will reconvene Monday, according to a county official.

The 12 jurors haven’t come to a decision in the case of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson and will meet again next week, according to a St. Louis County official. Though no decision will come this weekend, police still worked to erect barricades in nearby towns, and shopkeepers continued to board up windows on Saturday, following a third night of arrests Friday.

On Friday, the St. Louis County police put up metal barricades around their main building in downtown Clayton. On Saturday, police and workers arranged barricades in front of the justice center where the grand jury has been meeting to determine whether to indict policeman Darren Wilson on criminal charges for the shooting.

Although no date has been set for when the grand jury decision could be announced, St. Louis County Police said on Saturday that Chief Jon Belmar would be instituting 12-hour shifts for officers beginning on Saturday evening. His department is directly responsible for policing civil disturbance or protests in Ferguson.

Shops have long been boarded up in Ferguson, some to replace windows smashed during the unrest following the shooting in August, others to prevent damage in case of more civil disturbance.

But in Clayton, miles away, shopkeepers have just recently begun to board up their store fronts in anticipation of property damage following the impending grand-jury decision.

Some freshly boarded-up shops are carrying euphemistic signs meant to blunt the negative image those precautions taken by their owners convey. One jeweler placed a poster on the boards covering the shop’s windows saying: “Still open during construction.” The shop’s owners declined to comment on the precautions, saying they feared bad publicity.

St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who convened the grand jury in August, hasn’t said when the panel will announce its decision on Mr. Wilson, or whether it has yet made a decision. But on Friday he sent emails to members of the media explaining logistics for when the decision is announced.

On Friday night, police confronting protesters wore normal uniforms and didn’t carry riot shields and batons, or crowd-control shotguns, as they had the previous two evenings. A spokesman for the St. Louis County Police said officers “were barely seen” and no lines of police faced off with protesters.

A crowd of dozens of people formed up in front of Ferguson’s police department and held a candlelight vigil sometime around 8 p.m., local time, which included blocking the street in front of the police station and observing a moment of silence for Mr. Brown, the 18-year-old killed in the August shooting.

Police didn’t physically respond to the protesters, instead warning them over a patrol car’s speaker that they could face arrest if they continued to block the street. Most protesters abandoned the police station after an hour or so, and after a heavy but brief rainstorm. They then drove some 2 miles to the area near Canfield Green Apartments, where Mr. Wilson shot and killed the unarmed Mr. Brown on Aug. 9.

Protesters also marched up West Florissant Avenue, site of sometimes-violent protests in the days following Mr. Brown’s death. They blocked lanes of traffic and chanted for around an hour. During the fracas, a driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a light pole as a crowd walked into traffic.

Demonstrators soon headed back to the Ferguson police station, again blocking traffic until around 11 p.m., when a group of officers emerged from the station and arrested three men blocking the street and charging them with unlawful assembly. “Three subjects were taken into custody without further incident,” said the police report. “The remainder of the demonstrators voluntarily removed themselves from the street and onto the sidewalk.”

Write to Ben Kesling at

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