With news of a grand jury decision likely just days away, few in Ferguson, Mo., and the greater St. Louis area are expecting that the white officer who fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old this summer will face any charges, reports the Washington Post. Instead, residents, activists and police officials have been engaged in contingency planning with the hopes of avoiding the kind of major unrest that exploded after Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Almost nightly in recent weeks, meetings have been held in church basements and community buildings to try to address a single question: How do we prevent our city from burning? Dozens of interviews with protest organizers, community leaders and local officials found a deep concern about the response to news that Wilson may not be legally held accountable in the Aug. 9 shooting.
Recently some young protest leaders held a national conference call to discuss protest plans. Organizers claim that hundreds participated. Activists said they are planning more civil disobedience, much like the actions carried out during the “weekend of resistance” in early October, when protests unfolded in Ferguson and throughout the metro area. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said he, the head of the county police and officials in the Missouri Highway Patrol have spent the past three weeks talking with protesters. They've made the rounds of many coalition groups, Dotson said, because different groups have different agendas. “The majority of their group are respectful but have the right to have their emotions heard,” he said.