FERGUSON, Missouri – The people and police in and around Ferguson, Missouri, are getting ready for what could be a weekend rumble, no matter what the grand jury does regarding the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
Police arrested five protesters Thursday night, just hours before what is expected to be the final session for the grand jury. And when the grand jury’s decision becomes public, law officers and activists expect protests throughout the St. Louis area and in other parts of the country.
There’s information that Wilson could resign from the Ferguson police force, but if he stays or goes depends largely on whether the grand jury indicts him. Wilson has said he will leave if it will protect his fellow officers.
Some of the wives and families of Ferguson’s white police officers say they’ve lived in constant fear since the August shooting.
"This is real and that people actually do know how to find us and they do want to harm us,” said one wife who did not want to be identified.
In the final hours before the big showdown, people like Michael Brown, Senior, are starting to speak out against violence.
“But hurting others and destroying property is not the answer. No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain.”
Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department is running its own investigation into the shooting, is jumping on the peace train. “But history has also shown us that the most successful and enduring movements for change are those that adhere to non-aggression and nonviolence."
Even the mayor of Boston, 1,100 miles from Ferguson, is calling for non-violent demonstrations. "If something goes wrong and, you know, people have to express themselves, if displeased with the ruling of the grand jury, doing in a peaceful and respectful manner,” said Mayor Marty Walsh.
Ferguson’s schools delayed opening in August because of folks running wild in the streets. Now, school officials say they’re canceling classes next week for the safety of the kids.
And that’s a sad indictment in itself, when protests against violence end up threatening the safety of children.