- The grand jury tasked with deciding whether Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson will be charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown is expected to deliberate soon, according to Brown family attorneys.
- The grand jury has regularly met since August 20 to investigate the death of Brown, a black 18-year-old who was unarmed when Wilson fatally shot him on August 9.
- The grand jury has reportedly interviewed Wilson and, most recently, Dr. Michael Baden, the forensic expert who conducted an autopsy on Brown's body at the request of his family.
- Ferguson residents and supporters of Brown have protested regularly since the shooting. An indictment for Wilson has been one of their primary demands.
Authorities appear to be preparing for no indictment — and civil unrest
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Tuesday that the state's National Guard is prepared to respond to any violence and unrest following the grand jury decision. "Violence will not be tolerated," Nixon declared.
There have also been reports of local police and businesses preparing for heightened protests. Stores have reportedly boarded their windows, and civil rights groups are holding non-violence training sessions for demonstrators, according to ABC News.
St. Louis County Police have stocked up on tear gas, less-lethal ammunition, and plastic handcuffs in anticipation of huge protests, the Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly reported — despite garnering nationwide criticism for using such gear against protesters in the days following Brown's death.
Protesters also launched a website to plan for protests following a grand jury decision. Among the instructions, demonstrators are advised to carry gas masks and wooden shields and follow rules of engagement that demand peace.
Demonstrators, who have been mostly peaceful, have responded to Nixon's remarks and the police preparations with scorn. Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who's been heavily involved with the protests since August, tweeted that peace has always been in the protesters' interest.
"Violence will not be tolerated." Ironically, this is the message of protestors as well. pic.twitter.com/zSoZ1IBYAr
— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) November 11, 2014
Amnesty International recently criticized law enforcement's militarized response to the protests in Ferguson as a human rights abuse. During the protests, police touted military-grade weapons — armored vehicle, sniper rifles, and tear gas — against demonstrators who were largely peaceful. Nixon, in his remarks on Tuesday, attempted to acknowledge the peaceful nature of most protesters in Ferguson, but French's tweet shows that there's still a lot of discord between authorities and locals.