Missouri Grand Jury in Ferguson Shooting Mostly White

The Missouri grand jury that will decide whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown includes nine whites and three blacks, a state court judge said.

Wilson, who is white, killed Brown, an 18-year-old black man, in a confrontation that spurred days of riots, protests and Governor Jay Nixon’s activation of the National Guard. The incident has stoked concerns about the majority white police department’s treatment of black residents in the St. Louis suburb.

The grand jury, which sits in Clayton, 12 miles from the scene of the shooting, includes seven men and five women. They aren’t expected to conclude deliberations until October at the earliest, said Edward Magee, a spokesman for prosecutor Bob McCulloch. A judge in Clayton today disclosed the breakdown of the jury at the request of Bloomberg News. A lawyer from McCulloch’s office didn’t object to the release at the hearing.

Missouri grand jurors are selected from registered voters and licensed drivers over the age of 21, the same pool from which trial juries are selected. There is one grand jury empaneled for St. Louis County, which includes Ferguson and Clayton, for a four-month term.

The pool of potential jurors for this grand jury were interviewed by Missouri Circuit Judge Carolyn Whittington. The prosecuting attorney has no role in the selection of the jurors, according to Paul Fox, the judicial administrator for St. Louis County, which doesn’t include the city of the same name.

Whittington today ordered the release of the current grand jury’ makeup. Fox said that the racial breakdown of the grand jury roughly reflects the makeup of the county.

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