Grand jury fails to reach decision Friday on Ferguson officer

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FERGUSON, Missouri (CNN) — A Missouri grand jury did not reach a decision Friday on whether to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, federal and local law enforcement officials told CNN Saturday.

The grand jury will not reconvene until Monday, local and federal law enforcement sources told CNN.

**Follow the latest on this investigation from our sister station, KTVI**

Churches will open their sanctuaries to people who want to get away from protests in Ferguson when a grand jury announces whether it will indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

Observers, legal experts and first aid supplies will be on hand, CNN affiliate KSDK reported.

As the decision gets closer, President Barack Obama joined the call for calm when a decision is announced.

“This is a country that allows everybody to express their views. Allows them to peacefully assemble, to protest actions that they think are unjust,” the President told ABC News in an interview excerpt broadcast Friday.

“But using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are.”

The President’s comments came as the grand jury considers whether to bring charges against Wilson, who is in the final stages of negotiations with Ferguson city officials to resign, sources close to the talks told CNN.

Wilson has maintained he’s done nothing wrong, and the resignation talks have hinged on whether he is indicted, the sources said.

While Wilson has told associates he would resign to help ease pressure and protect his fellow officers, he has expressed concern about resigning while the grand jury was still hearing evidence for fear it would appear he was admitting fault.

The talks could still collapse, the sources close to the talks said. Wilson doesn’t know what the grand jury will do and, if they opt to charge him, he could change his mind.

Wilson, who has six years on the force with no disciplinary issues on his record, is currently on paid administrative leave. If he returns to duty, he will have to undergo two psychological evaluations, authorities have said.

What is known, what is not

The basic facts of the case — Wilson, a white police officer, fatally shot Brown, a black 18-year-old who was unarmed, on August 9 — are not in dispute. Most everything else about the case is, leading to emotionally and racially charged divisions about what should happen next.

The officer’s supporters have claimed Wilson fired in self-defense, pointing to witness testimony and leaked grand jury documents that suggest Brown might have attacked Wilson, struggled for his gun and perhaps charged the officer moments later.

Brown’s backers have been likewise adamant in blaming Wilson, claiming the officer shot a young man who, according to some accounts, was holding up his hands in surrender.

This dispute as to what happened, the handing of the investigation and the fact that charges were not brought against Wilson sparked days of protests on the streets of Ferguson. The ensuing police response, which many have called heavy-handed, and the violence, property damage and looting of some during the protests only deepened the mistrust.

Police: 3 more arrested in Ferguson

Once the grand jury decision is made, prosecutors are expected to provide law enforcement with 48 hours notice before making a public announcement.

The current plans could still change and prosecutors could shift the planned grand jury session.

Meanwhile, authorities are on guard for a repeat of large-scale demonstrations and possibly violence — as happened in the days after the shooting, when heavily armed police came face to face with angry protesters.

A number of business owners boarded their doors and windows. Some people made plans to stay indoors this weekend. Others made plans to take to the streets to protest.

The tension was not visible, but palpable, in the words of Ferguson residents.

Barber shop owner Marty Buchheit said he was seeing half as many clients these days.

“I’m just waiting until this thing airs out and I see what I got left,” he said.

Demonstrations, as well as sporadic arrests, have continued for weeks, including some on Friday night.

According to St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman, about 60 protesters caused safety concerns when they shut down all lanes of traffic on South Florissant and refused police orders to clear the road. Then authorities got help from the weather.

“It began to rain heavily and the vast majority of demonstrators took cover, thus clearing the road,” Schellman said.

Later that evening, about 12 protesters again blocked traffic. Police arrested three of them, because they refused to move out of the roadway, according to the police spokesman.

Precautions and plans

The prospect of more disputes and violence after the grand jury ruling is announced spurred officials and citizens to take precautions.

The school district for Jennings, Missouri — which neighbors Ferguson — has canceled classes for Monday and Tuesday of next week, according to its Facebook page. School district officials did not immediately return CNN’s calls for comment on why classes were canceled.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency. And, along Ferguson’s West Florissant Avenue — ground zero for violent protests — businesses put back the plywood boards they had taken down from their windows and doors.

The FBI has sent dozens of extra personnel, including FBI police officers, mostly to guard their offices around the St. Louis area and boost personnel, a law enforcement official said.

Additionally a separate law enforcement official said the ATF has sent in extra personnel, including SWAT team members.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said his officers are ready for whatever happens.

“We’ve had three months to prepare. … Acts of violence will not be tolerated,” he said. “Our intelligence is good. Our tactics are good. We can protect lawful people and at the same time arrest criminals.”

There are concerns that communities well beyond Ferguson could see unrest after the grand jury’s decision comes down.