UPDATE: Grand jury hears evidence in Ferguson case

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) -- A grand jury has begun hearing evidence as it weighs possible charges against the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown.

St. Louis County prosecutor's spokesman Ed Magee confirmed the panel heard evidence Wednesday but offered no other details. Officials have vowed not to release any information about the grand jury's proceedings in order to avoid compromising the case.

During the day, a small group of protesters gathered outside the suburban St. Louis building where the grand jury was meeting. About 20 police officers stood outside the building's front entrance, which was also blocked off by yellow police tape.

It could be weeks before the grand jury decides whether Officer Darren Wilson should stand trial for Brown's Aug. 9 death.

Holder discusses police mistrust outside Ferguson

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Attorney General Eric Holder is spending the day in suburban St. Louis in a series of meetings related to the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown and the unrest it's triggered in Ferguson, Missouri, including a sit-down with Brown's parents.
Holder has pledged experience federal officials will independently investigate whether there were any civil rights violations connected to Brown's death. Brown was black and the officer who shot him is white.
In meeting with Ferguson residents, Holder said that as a black man he understands why many African-Americans mistrust the police. The attorney general shared personal experiences, recalling the humiliation of twice having his car searched on the New Jersey Turnpike after being pulled over and accused of speeding.
Holder also told them the "eyes of the nation and the world are watching Ferguson," where the shooting took place.

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- The streets of Ferguson are filled once more tonight with protesters demonstrating against the death of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old who was fatally shot Aug. 9 by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white. But unlike previous nights, there were no immediate reports of clashes with police, who stood by with batons and gas masks. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is set to come to the St. Louis suburb Wednesday.

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- Ferguson city leaders urged people to stay home after dark Tuesday to "allow peace to settle in" and pledged to try to improve the police force in the St. Louis suburb where the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown has sparked nightly clashes between protesters and police.

In a public statement, the city said the mayor, the City Council and employees have been exploring ways to increase the number of African-American applicants to the law enforcement academy, develop incentive programs to encourage city residency for police officers and raise money for cameras that would be attached to patrol car dashboards and officers' vests.

The statement said, quoting: "We plan to learn from this tragedy, as we further provide for the safety of our residents and businesses and progress our community through reconciliation and healing."

After sundown Tuesday, the streets of Ferguson filled once more with protesters who marched along the street in a large square-shaped pattern. There were no immediate reports of clashes with police, who stood by with batons and gas masks.

Ferguson pledges efforts at reconciliation

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- The city of Ferguson, Missouri, says it working hard to better connect with the community and learn from the "discord and heartbreak" that followed the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer. At the same time, authorities confirm there have been over 50 arrests in tense street demonstrations over the past two days.

The St. Louis suburb put out a statement saying that Mayor James Knowles III, members of the City Council and city employees have been meeting with residents, religious and elected leaders to address concerns raised following Brown's death on Aug. 9. Officer Darren Wilson is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

The statement from the city says it wants to get more black officers onto the police force, and to rebuild the West Florissant Avenue business district that has been ravaged by nightly confrontations between police and protesters.

Michael Brown funeral set for Monday

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Funeral services for the black 18-year-old killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri are planned for Monday. But it's questionable whether that will bring any measure of closure to the people of Ferguson, Missouri, who have packed the street with protests over the past several days.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the family of Michael Brown, says the exact time and location for the memorial has not been finalized.

The shooting of the unarmed Brown by officer Darren Wilson has stoked more than a week of unrest in the city. Police have used tear gas, sound projectors and other means to turn back demonstrators, some of whom have lobbed firebombs and bottles at officers.

The volatile scenes prompted Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to deploy the National Guard in an effort control the unrest.

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