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article imageGrand jury gets more time to decide on Ferguson charges

By Nathan Salant     Sep 17, 2014 in Crime
Ferguson - A Missouri grand jury considering whether to indict a Ferguson police officer over the death of Michael Brown can hear evidence for four more months.
Missouri Judge Carolyn Whittington decided Monday to extend the grand jury deadline to Jan. 7 to give the 12-member panel more time to consider reams of evidence gathered since a cop shot an 18-year-old on a Ferguson street.
The panel is deciding whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, committed a crime when he shot Brown, who was black, according to Cable News Network (CNN).
The shooting prompted weeks of protest in the streets of Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb, and caused a national debate about crime, racism and the conduct of police officers that is still continuing.
Wilson says he thought he was being threatened by Brown when he pulled the trigger, but his account of their encounter has been disputed by witnesses.
Many of the witnesses also took cell phone videos, but the footage has so far proved inconclusive.
Ferguson is nearly 70 percent black while its 52-member police force is 90 percent white.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch said the grand jury only is expected to need until the end of October to reach a determination on whether to charge Wilson with murder or any other crimes.
But Court Administrator Paul Fox said the longer extension was granted to ensure that the seven women and five men on the panel had enough time to examine the case.
The extension is the longest possible under state law, he said.
More about Missouri, Ferguson, Shooting, Police, Brown
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