JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (AP) – The white suburban St Louis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old does not expect to face criminal charges from a Missouri grand jury that has been investigating the case for several months, a police union official said Thursday.
Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St Louis Police Officers’ Association, said he met Thursday with the police officer, Darren Wilson, who has remained secluded from the public eye since the Aug 9 shooting that sparked tense and occasionally violent protests. The killing also reignited a debate over how police treat young black men as it drew attention to racial tensions in the United States.
Wilson, who was placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting, has been under a lot of pressure and stress but seems confident in the outcome of the grand jury investigation, Roorda said.
“It’s fair to say that neither he nor his defence team expect an indictment,” Roorda said.
The 12-person St Louis County grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case as the panel weighs whether to indict Wilson, who could face varying degrees of charges. A decision could come soon, though authorities have not publicised any specific date for an announcement.
Roorda said St Louis city police have been notified that they are switching to 12-hour shifts starting Saturday, a preparation for a potential uptick in protests.
The St Louis County Police Department has not yet decided whether to switch to longer work shifts, spokesman Brian Schellman said.