Tension grows as Ferguson awaits grand jury decision

Byby Karen Travers via ABCNews logo
Sunday, November 23, 2014
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Tension is growing as the town of Ferguson awaits a grand jury decision on whether charges will be brought against an officer for killing an unarmed teen.

CLAYTON, Mo. -- The wait continues and tension is growing in and around Ferguson, Missouri. On Monday, a grand jury will resume deliberations on whether to bring charges against a white police officer for killing an unarmed black teenager. Precautions are being taken in case there is violence, though the victim's family has called for peace, whatever the outcome.

Demonstrations have been taking place daily in the region. For the most part they have been peaceful and orderly, as they have been for the last three months since Michael Brown was shot and killed. But overnight, at least two people were arrested after quiet, peaceful protests.

Michael Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, is marching and calling for calm.

"We've been peaceful the entire time," she said. "And I don't think it's going to change because it's who we are. We're a peaceful people."

The anxious waiting in Ferguson continues

"It's just a really heavy heart all around St. Louis," said one resident.

The grand jury took the weekend off. It will reconvene on Monday to continue its work of deciding whether Officer Darren Wilson will face charges in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

Nine votes are needed to indict. The grand jury has the same racial makeup as the county. Nine white jurors and three black jurors. Seven men and five women.

Nervous residents are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

"I think you might have some young people that will actually do some violence, you know?" one resident said.

Businesses have boarded up their windows along a stretch of West Florissant Avenue -- the center of those violent protests last summer.

"I want people to understand that they are going to be safe in their homes," said Mayor James Knowles. "Police departments have planned, ready to act to protect both business and life."

That planning includes barricades set up at the courthouse where the grand jury is meeting. About 1,000 extra officers have been brought to the region to help on the ground. And the FBI and the National Guard are there as backup.