FERGUSON, Missouri – The office of the county prosecutor has said a grand jury could start hearing evidence Wednesday in the fatal shooting of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown by a white police officer on August 9.
Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, told the Associated Press that authorities aim to start presenting the case Wednesday, the grand jury’s regular meeting date.
“We’re going to attempt to present evidence to the grand jury on Wednesday,” Magee told msnbc, stressing the word “attempt.”
Gov. Jay Nixon announced on Monday there would be no curfew in Ferguson that night, after chaos and violence erupted in the St. Louis suburb late Sunday into Monday morning. Nixon also signed an order to call in the Missouri National Guard “to assist” in restoring peace and order to the community.
The release Monday morning of Michael Brown’s first autopsy – showing he was shot six times, including twice in the head – has intensified demands that Darren Wilson, the officer responsible for the teen’s death be charged. The county conducted its own autopsy soon after Brown’s death and Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a separate federal autopsy to be conducted as well.
The results upped the pressure on McCulloch, the man responsible for probing the shooting and potentially filing charges. McCulloch already was facing calls to step aside from the investigation amid questions about his ability to be impartial.
“Why hasn’t Officer Wilson been arrested?” shouted a woman at the press conference to announce the results of the autopsy, triggering a roar of support. The autopsy was conducted by Michael Baden, a New York pathologist at the request of the Brown family.
McCulloch had told the St. Louis Post Dispatch Saturday that he hoped to install a grand jury “within days.”
“We’re going to start presenting everything to the grand jury as quickly as we can,’’ he said. “We’re not going to wait until we have everything and then do it.”
Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden told ABC News Monday morning that the only way to restore peace to Ferguson, which saw its most violent clashes Sunday night, is for Wilson to be charged.
But many African-Americans here say McCulloch, who is white, can’t be trusted to carry out the investigation impartially, thanks to what they see as a history of indifference to their community’s concerns.
“He has displayed so much bias that he needs to remove himself from the case,” the civil rights activist Martin Luther King III told a small group outside the Greater Grace Church in Ferguson where a Michael Brown rally was held Sunday evening. “That would be a victory for this community.”
Numerous local elected officials, including Rep. Lacy Clay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, as well as the local NAACP, also have called for McCulloch to hand over the investigation.
McCulloch’s office has released little information about its investigation – its website makes no mention of the shooting that has led to scenes of violence and destruction this week and also hasn’t released the results of the county’s own autopsy.
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