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  • Mike Brown memorial (Photo: Reuters)

    Mike Brown memorial (Photo: Reuters)

Published 17 September 2014

Decision delayed on whether or not police officer will face criminal charges

A judge has granted an extension to the grand jury considering whether to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson on August 9.

The term of the grand jury was set to expire on Wednesday, but St. Louis judge Carolyn Whittington made the decision to extend the deadline to January 7.  

The grand jury will not determine guilt or innocence, but is deciding whether there is enough evidence for Wilson to face criminal charges after the shooting death of the unarmed black youth.

According to eyewitness testimony, Michael Brown was shot to death with his hands in the air by Wilson after Brown ignored a police order to walk on the sidewalk instead of the street.

The medical examiner has stated that the autopsy report shows he was shot at least six times from the front.

Protesters chanting "Hands up, Don't Shoot" have called worldwide attention to the incident as they march with their hands in the air.

Prosecuting Attorney, Robert P. McCulloch, is required to present all the evidence to the grand jury, which will meet in secret to decide if probable cause exists for issuing an indictment.  

At least nine of the jurors must vote to indict Wilson. The police officer will be allowed to testify, but is not required to do so.

Residents of the predominantly black community of Ferguson have repeatedly demanded that McCullough be replaced due his close relationship with the Ferguson Police Department, which they believe could affect the decision of the grand jury.

The racial composition of the grand jury is also an issue. According to press reports, only three African Americans (one male and two females), along with nine whites (six males and three females) will decide whether or not to indict a white policeman who killed a black youth in a predominantly black community.

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