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Ferguson braces for grand jury decision; more protests loom

By Xinhua in Chicago | China Daily | Updated: 2014-11-15 08:21

Tension is growing in Ferguson, Missouri, in the runup to the announcement of a grand jury decision over whether to charge the officer responsible for the shooting of unarmed black man Michael Brown, 18.

Storefronts are being boarded up and residents are preparing for the worst, while the authorities, including Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, say the National Guard will be ready to step in if necessary.

Gun sales have increased by 300 percent, according to CNN, which interviewed a local business owner who said that customers bought 100 guns every weekend last month, while a typical weekend brings in about 30 buyers.

On Thursday morning, the Brown family's lawyer called for calm and restraint from both police and protesters.

The appeal comes in the wake of multiple leaks to The New York Times and Washington Post hinting at the grand jury leaning away from indicting police officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot Brown.

Another leak revealed that an independent pathologist appeared before the grand jury on Thursday, which legal experts say points to the possibility that jurors are reaching the end of their witness list.

Local officials and protesters have reacted to the leaks with dismay. Protesters are holding "direct action" training in Ferguson, while St. Louis police have purchased $100,000 of riot gear ahead of the expected demonstrations, according to The Associated Press.

Radical unrest

Brown's parents flew to the United Nations office in Geneva to testify before the UN Committee Against Torture, and to express concern that the US judicial system was resisting prosecuting Wilson.

The family said the predominantly white police had mistreated black racial minorities in the Ferguson community for some time.

NBC News reported on Thursday that US officials will respond to the UN committee's questions.

Protests began on the evening of Aug 10, a day after the shooting, and a new wave of radical unrest swept the area last month after another black teenager, Vonderrit Myers Jr, was killed by an off-duty white police officer, the third time a black man had been killed by Missouri police in recent months.

 Ferguson braces for grand jury decision; more protests loom

A Metro Shooting Supplies' employee (left) speaks to a customer about the purchase of a 9 mm handgun in Bridgeton, Missouri, on Wednesday. Jim Young / Reuters

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