St. Louis-area schools will get notice of grand jury's finding: letter

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 14, 2014 10:43 AM

By Scott Malone

FERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - A suburban St. Louis school district told parents that it expects to receive at least three hours' notice from prosecutors when a grand jury decides whether to charge a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri.

Officials and residents around Ferguson, which was torn by weeks of sometimes violent protests following the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, 18, were braced on Friday for a report from the grand jury, which has been meeting for weeks and is expected to decide before the month's end whether to charge officer Darren Wilson.

The superintendent of the Hazelwood, Missouri, school district, which is adjacent to Ferguson, said in a letter posted to the district's Web site that the St. Louis County Prosecutor's office had told districts it would provide them with three hours' notice if the grand jury reaches its decision on a weekday, and 24 hours' notice if it comes on a weekend.

"The three-hour window will allow us enough time to transport students home safely," Superintendent Grayling Tobias said.

A spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Signs of preparation for the grand jury's finding could be seen around the area, with businesses along the Ferguson street that saw the worst of the August unrest keeping boards on their windows and some shops near the Ferguson Police Department also beginning to board up their fronts.

A private pathologist hired by the Brown family on Thursday testified to the grand jury, according to family attorneys, who said they believed that was a sign the grand jury was reaching the end of its witness list.

Witness accounts of the shooting have conflicted. Some described a struggle between Brown and Wilson and others said Brown put his hands up.

Brown was shot at least six times, twice in the head, on a residential street where he lived, according to the private pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden. Brown's family hired Baden in part to try to determine whether Brown was trying to surrender when he was shot.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Bill Trott)