FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Conditions calmed this week in Ferguson after nights of sometimes violent unrest stemming from the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer. But a delicate and crucial question lingers: What happens if the grand jury now considering the case doesn’t return a charge against the officer?

The fear among some local residents and officials trying to maintain peace in Ferguson is that failure to charge the officer could stoke new anger among a community profoundly mistrustful of the legal system.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill told The Associated Press she’s pushing for federal and local investigations to be completed around the same time so that all evidence in the case can be made public — a step many consider important should prosecutors decide not to charge the officer. Her office said Friday that the Department of Justice hasn’t given a timeline for the federal investigation, which centers on whether a civil rights violation occurred when officer Darren Wilson fatally shot the unarmed Brown Aug. 9.

McCaskill, a former prosecutor in Missouri, said she’s hopeful the physical evidence in the case — including blood spatter patterns, clothing and shell casings — will provide “incontrovertible facts” about what happened during the shooting. She said whatever local prosecutors decide, it will be important to explain the decision by providing that physical evidence, and that won’t be possible if the federal investigation is ongoing.

Two black women and one black man are among the 12 grand jurors hearing evidence on whether to charge Wilson, Paul Fox, director of judicial administration for St. Louis County Circuit Court, said Friday. Nine grand jurors must vote to issue an indictment.

McCaskill said she urged Attorney General Eric Holder during a meeting earlier this week to speed up what is typically a lengthier federal process.

“What we want to avoid is a decision being made without all the information being available to the public also,” McCaskill said, adding that not being able to do so could “create more stress and certainly much more fear that we would be back to worrying about people being able to protest safely.”

“Obviously all of us are concerned not just about that this process be fair, but what does this next six months look like?” she said.

Many residents who live in the Ferguson, eager to end the disruptions to their lives caused by protests and police presence, say they fear the community’s anger will explode anew if Wilson isn’t charged.

“This officer has to be indicted. I’d hate to see what happens if he isn’t. The rioting, the looting, man …,” said resident Larry Loveless, 29, as he stopped at the memorial for Brown where he was killed.

Brown’s shooting set off more than a week of racial unrest and protests. Those demonstrations have quieted in recent days, and on Thursday Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard — which had been called in to try to quell violence in the streets of Ferguson — to being withdrawing from the area.

St. Louis County prosecutors this week convened a grand jury to begin hearing evidence in the case, despite concerns among some in the community — including Brown’s parents — that the office would not be impartial because of District Attorney Bob McCulloch’s ties to law enforcement. McCulloch’s father, mother and other relatives worked for St. Louis police, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect. He has said he will not remove himself from the case.

The Department of Justice opened a parallel investigation, sending dozens of FBI agents to Ferguson to question witnesses.

Holder tried to build confidence in the investigation during his Wednesday visit, meeting with Brown’s parents and community members and telling that that as a black man, he has experienced many of their same frustrations and understands why many do not trust police. He said he hoped his visit would have a “calming influence.”

(Photo: AP)

4 thoughts on “NEW FEAR: What Happens in Ferguson If No Charges?

  1. KeepingItReal on said:

    Much like everything else…NOTHING will happen if there are no charges. Black people are a race of cowards. These crimes against blacks continue because they can. Same ole…same ole.

  2. Timekeeper on said:

    Please be advised. This situation, like it or not is ripe for an acquittal. The moment they showed Michael Brown at that Liquor store, and subsequently have refused to show any other evidence, you should all brace yourselves. The police are doing everything they can to camouflage what happened when that policeman shot Michael Brown. The writing is on the wall, loud and clear. there have even been fake witnesses and false claims about bruises, etc, etc just enough to muddy the waters.The authorities are putting Just Enough cloud and Grey into this matter to cause doubt about what happened. The country is already divided, if you read, listen and/or hear the talk you know this is a setup for disaster. So brace yourselves, as this is not going to end well I would like to say otherwise, but I can feel it in the air ( And so can many of you) Also please remember, Stories like the one unfolding with Michael Brown undoubtedly brings out the worst in certain people. As the BET website has gained attention right wing groups troll this site for one reason. To say the most despicable things they can think of. These trolls under the disguise of anonymity feel emboldened to spew their hatred in secret. Like the weakling bigots they’ve always been this is their perfect avenue to get this hatred off their chest. However, it will never get out of their spirit. As Jesus once said
    “it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of him” The evil spirit in some can never be exorcised form a few words on a blog. Only God can change that. So don’t bother to respond in kind to the beneath contempt from which these people and their statements come from. Like Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride and others, racists, and others who think they know a little bit more than somebody else likes to bring their bouji attitudes and take these opportunities to comfort one another in their unholy matrimony of futile existence. Some of them actually get paid by right wing think tanks to patrol minority websites so they can see and hear what is being said. Their express purpose is to distort, divide and confuse the issues. With the same Nixon like paranoia they want to wire tap, OR, in this case blog tap what people are saying. Others do it simply because of their deep rooted racism they’ve learned since kindergarten while they ate their cheerios at the kitchen table and listened to mom and dad blame every minority they could think of for their lack of success. It would be funny, if it weren’t so tragic. So when you see these racist posts ( And I am certain you will) don’t respond. Let it go and give it ( and them) to GOD. He can handle the situation better than any of us can. “for his judgment cometh, and right soon”

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