Update 10:20 p.m. EST: Demonstrators are on the move in Ferguson, Missouri.
â€” Micah Grimes (@MicahGrimes) November 23, 2014
The Missouri grand jury tasked with deciding whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown has yet to decide. It's one of the most anticipated legal actions in years as protesters in Ferguson prepare to make their voices heard if the officer is not indicted and police make plans to try to keep the peace either way.
News reports revealed the grand jury, which first convened in August, had yet to come to a consensus on indicting Wilson despite rumors it would decide Friday and reveal its decision during the weekend. The inability to decide only extends what has already been a long and emotional waiting period for the Brown family, Wilson, protesters and authorities.
The grand jury has already seen the period of its service extended. It was initially scheduled to reach a decision by Sept. 10, but a judge extended the period until January. As such, it could be 2015 before the nation finds out whether Wilson will go to trial in Brown's death.
One reason the decision has been delayed is because St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch has said he is taking the unusual step of calling on “all witnesses with any relevant evidence” to testify before the grand jury, according to the Associated Press. Typically, grand juries hear far less testimony, but this is no typical case.
The fact that there has been no specific charge against Wilson identified by McCulloch may also have introduced some confusion or complications, leading to the necessity of more time than average for grand jury deliberations.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd, a former head of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, said the lengthy grand jury period should be seen as positive.
“At the end of the day, whether Officer Wilson is indicted or not, it’s important that the public have confidence that the system worked as it should,” Zahnd told AP. “For that reason, the grand jury going above and beyond the norm is very, very appropriate.”
In the meantime, Wilson is reportedly in resignation talks with the Ferguson Police Department. And protesters are standing firm in Ferguson, saying they will remain there until the day a decision is issued and likely long after that critical moment.
Tensions are running high in Ferguson and across the country, and President Barack Obama weighed in Friday, saying the situation is "no excuse for violence," The Hill reported.
The shooting death of Brown touched off a series of protests in the St. Louis suburb that transfixed the nation and continue to this day as the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white officer sparked a long-simmering debate over racial relations in many of the nation's cities.
The grand jury is expected to reconvene Monday, CNN said.