NEW: Grand jury could rule in Officer Darren Wilson's case by Friday, source say
St. Louis police chief says his officers are ready for reaction when grand jury rules
Grand jury weighs evidence to determine whether Wilson will face charges
Wilson fatally shot an unarmed Michael Brown in August, setting off protests
The grand jury hearing evidence on the Michael Brown shooting is preparing to meet Friday for what might be its final session, and a decision on whether to charge Officer Darren Wilson could come the same day, law enforcement officials briefed on the plans said.
St. Louis County prosecutors are preparing to present more evidence to the grand jury before starting deliberations, and a decision on an indictment is expected soon after, the law enforcement officials said.
If a decision comes Friday, prosecutors are expected to provide law enforcement with 48 hours notice before making a public announcement, possibly on Sunday.
The current plans could still change and prosecutors could shift the planned grand jury session, the officials said.
Prosecutor Robert McCulloch has said he plans to make public all evidence and testimony presented to the grand jury, but there is growing concern from some on how to deal with the identities of people who have testified, the sources say.
Concerns have also been raised that some witnesses could be put at risk once their testimony and identities become public, law enforcement officials said.
In some cases, witnesses might have testified differently under oath, providing different accounts than the ones they gave in media interviews, the official explained. Others may have provided testimony that may be interpreted as helpful to the officer’s account of the August 9 shooting.
A spokesman for McCulloch’s office said the prosecutor hasn’t decided whether to redact names of witnesses. The spokesman declined to comment on possible timing of the grand jury decision.
A city on edge
A tense Ferguson is awaiting to hear whether a St. Louis County grand jury believes Wilson should stand trial in the fatal shooting of the unarmed Brown.
Jurors have until January, but the prosecutor’s office has said a decision could come in mid-November. For weeks, lawyers, analysts and journalists have speculated on when it will be announced.
Ferguson became a flashpoint for racial tension after the teen’s shooting; Brown, 18, was black, the officer is white.
Street demonstrations and violence erupted, and heavily armed police came face to face with angry protesters demanding justice.
Some predict that will be the case again when the grand jury’s decision is announced.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday as a precaution in the event of unrest or violence.
Along West Florissant Avenue, the ground zero of violent protests, businesses put back the plywood boards they had taken down from their windows and doors. Business owners were tired of answering questions about how they had fared through the weeks and weeks of tension.
“How do you think we are doing?” asked Dan McMullen, owner of Solo Insurance Services on West Florissant.
“I just want to get this over with and move on,” he said, sitting at his desk behind the boarded-up entrance to his strip mall office.
He said some protesters came in wanting to leave fliers with information in his office.
“I told them to get the hell out. You broke my windows and now you want me to put out your literature?”
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told local media this month that he expected demonstrations across the region and warned authorities to “prepare for the worst.”
‘We’ve had three months to prepare’
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Tuesday that his officers are ready for whatever happens.
“We’ve had three months to prepare. … Acts of violence will not be tolerated,” he said. “Our intelligence is good. Our tactics are good. We can protect lawful people and at the same time arrest criminals.”
On Tuesday, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay wrote the city’s aldermen, singling out Alderwoman Phyllis Young, chairwoman of the city’s public safety committee, to explain that 400 National Guard troops would be requested for the city.
“We will not, unless something happens that we have not foreseen, post them where there are organized protests,” Slay