Across Ferguson, Mo., people are bracing for a grand jury not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, the New York Times reports.
And few are expecting peace, the Times writes, if Wilson escapes charges in the Aug. 9 shooting that sparked months of protests, putting Ferguson at the center of a long-simmering debate over the police and race.
Protesters against police tactics, who have continued to hold marches since the shooting, told the Times they envision larger, angrier demonstrations. As a result of such warnings, the police in the region ordered new riot gear, called meetings with nearby departments and held special training seminars, the report says.
President Obama on Friday spoke by phone with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to get an update on the situation, the report says. Earlier in the day, Obama was briefed by the Justice Department on efforts to assist state and local governments as needed.
Concern over a possible nonindictment began to rise after forensics tests showed Brown’s blood on Wilson’s gun, possibly supporting the officer’s claim that at one point he was pinned in his vehicle and engaged in a struggle with Brown for control of the gun, the Times notes.
Further fueling concern over possible unrest is that Wilson may not face civil rights charges, the newspaper says. Federal investigators have said evidence so far does not support such a case against the officer.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Brown’s parents, said they are preparing to call on the people not to react violently to a grand jury decision they find unfavorable.
“We want people to pray that the system will work, but the family doesn’t have much confidence at all,” Crump told the Times. He also did not express confidence that local police will deal properly even with peaceful protesters.
Regardless of the outcome, Crump told the paper that the family is dedicated to pushing the federal government and states to pass “Michael Brown laws” that would require officers to wear video cameras, the Times notes.
“The real change they want is for people to use their frustration and turn it into legislation,” he told the paper. “If you get the Mike Brown law passed, nobody will have to deal with something like this and the [adding of] insult to injury afterwards.”
Read more at the New York Times.