Ferguson Police Officer|Testifies to Grand Jury

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo. police officer who shot Michael Brown, setting off weeks of protests, testified before a grand jury for more than four hours on Tuesday.
     Wilson, who is white, shot Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, on Aug. 9. The shooting provoked weeks of often violent protests on Ferguson’s streets.
     The protests continue, though without the violence.
     On Tuesday, protestors descended on a St. Louis County Council meeting, urging leaders to act on their demands that Wilson be arrested and charged with murder.
     Protestors threatened council members with political repercussions in the next election if they did not comply, and also threatened disruptions at Cardinals and Rams games Sunday.
     Wilson was not obligated to appear before the grand jury, but was cooperative, a source with knowledge of the investigation told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
     A spokesman for prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch’s office refused to comment on who testified.
     At issue is what happened moments before Brown died.
     Police claim Brown was struggling with Wilson for Wilson’s gun when he was shot.
     Brown’s family claims Brown was surrendering when he was shot multiple times by Wilson.
     Brown supporters want McCulloch removed from the investigation. They say McCulloch has a conflict of interest because his father was killed by a black man.
     McCulloch has stated that every piece of evidence will be presented to the grand jury, who alone will decide whether Wilson should be criminally indicted.
     In an effort at transparency, McCulloch has promised that all grand jury transcripts will be released if the grand jury decides against an indictment.
     Wilson was not allowed to bring his counsel into the grand jury chamber during his testimony.
     Attorney Chet Pleban, who is not a part of this case but has represented several police officers accused of crimes, told the Post-Dispatch that Wilson’s testimony could be used in any state or federal prosecution, but might be necessary to prove to jurors that he acted out of fear of death or other serious injury.
     “The problem in this case is, one way or the other, his story had to be told in order for this grand jury to know what was in his mind,” Pleban told the Post-Dispatch. “And I don’t know any way to accomplish that other than to have him testify.”

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