Actually, there’s wiggle room in the timeline. CNN thinks the news will break today, possibly as early as 5 p.m. ET. WaPo says it’ll “likely” be today. As I’m writing this, Fox News is citing a family attorney as saying the decision will be released sometime after 6 p.m. ET. But the NYT says it’ll be “late Monday or early Tuesday.” If they hold it until the morning, I assume it’s because they think passions might cool a bit before nightfall tomorrow as people absorb the news.
The national media, which has been set up in Ferguson for many months, is ready for a show:
Will be broadcasting from Ferguson tonight. #inners
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 24, 2014
Are they going to get a show? The FBI thinks it’s possible: They caught two would-be “protesters” with guns and explosives on Friday and have warned local police forces — not just around Ferguson but nationwide — that the worst agitators will probably try to attack cops. Jay Nixon’s declared a state of emergency in Ferguson and schools there are closed to keep kids out of harm’s way. At this point, though, there’s more suspense about how protesters will react than there is about what the grand jury’s decision will be. Evidence has been leaking for weeks that multiple witnesses, many of them black, corroborated Darren Wilson’s account of his confrontation with Michael Brown. The autopsy report supposedly shows that Brown was shot in the hand at close range, which supports Wilson’s claim that Brown leaned through the window of his squad car and reached for his gun. The question at this point isn’t whether Wilson will be indicted for murder/manslaughter or for a much lesser charge, it’s whether he’ll be indicted for a much lesser charge or not at all. If, say, they charge him with some form of negligent homicide, with a maximum penalty of less than 10 years, will that pacify the protesters? Probably not, right?
Anyway. Between the probable violence to come and days of migraine-inducing cable arguments like this, we’re staring at a truly magical Thanksgiving holiday. Stand by for updates.
Update: Some holiday cheer from me to all of our friends in the press:
Hope the Ferguson reaction is everything the media’s been dreaming it might be!
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) November 24, 2014
Update: Via RCP, a good question from … Toure?
Update: In case you’re wondering about the demographics of the grand jury, it’s seven men and five women, nine white and three black.
Update: As noted up top, you would think they’d want to wait until morning to announce this to give people time to cool off before the sun goes down. But no, let’s put on a show:
JUST IN: Decision of Ferguson Grand Jury will be announced at 9pm ET, St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office says
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) November 24, 2014
Update: Who’ll land the first interview with Darren Wilson? Word on the street is that it’s George Stephanopoulos.
Update: We’re 10 minutes away from the announcement and MSNBC claims that the prosecutor is going to deliver a 20-minute statement. That’s something you’d expect him to do to explain why an indictment hasn’t been returned, not why it has.
Update: We’ll have confirmation soon, but:
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 25, 2014
Update: Nope, no indictment. Prosecutor Robert McCulloch says the grand jury deliberated two days. Some evidence will be released after the press conference.
Update: Here’s the Brown family’s statement.
Update: McCulloch says some of Brown’s blood was found inside the car, corroborating the evidence that Brown was first shot while his arm was through the window. Also this:
Update: And here’s Darren Wilson’s statement.
— Christine Byers (@ChristineDByers) November 25, 2014
Update: She hasn’t seen the evidence, but hey.
Congressional Black Caucus chair Marcia Fudge says lack of indictment in Michael Brown's death is a "miscarriage of justice." #Ferguson
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) November 25, 2014
Update: More on the corroborating eyewitnesses:
Prosecutor says witnesses who described Brown as charging at Wilson were "all African-American."
— Brit Hume (@brithume) November 25, 2014
Update: People on Twitter are noting, correctly, that it’s unusual for a potential defendant to testify before a grand jury, as Wilson did in this case. A grand jury investigation typically isn’t adversarial, as a trial is. Only the prosecutor presents evidence, which is why it’s usually so easy to obtain an indictment against someone — the prosecution does all the talking. McCulloch probably reasoned, though, that if he got an easy indictment against Wilson and then went to trial, it would drag out the tensions in the city even longer. That’s fine if there’s a real shot at conviction, but if there’s not enough evidence for probable cause, there’s obviously not enough for guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Better to find out sooner rather than later if this process is going anywhere before people invest even more emotions in it.
Update: Here comes The One.
BREAKING: 10:00PM THE PRESIDENT delivers a statement
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) November 25, 2014
Update: By the numbers:
Extremely rare for a grand jury to fail to return an indictment. Only about 0.01% of the time in federal cases (1/2). http://t.co/XrK4yLwALi
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 25, 2014
Update: Here we go.
Update: Split-screen on MSNBC as I write this has Obama urging calm from the White House in the right half while people try to overturn a St. Louis police squad car in the left.
Update: Tear gas has been fired and a police squad car is ablaze. Looks like it’s going to be a bad night.