Posts by Jason Sickles, Yahoo

  • Grand jury reaches decision on Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson; will be announced at 8p.m. CT

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 51 mins ago

    A spokesman for the St. Louis prosecutor's office alerted media of the decision in a brief email statement and said it would be announced at 8 p.m. at the downtown courthouse in Clayton.

    Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon delivered remarks ahead of the decision and made a plea for a peaceful response, no matter what the outcome of the grand jury.

    "Our shared hope and expectation is that regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint," he said.

    Meanwhile, officials in Clayton stepped up security measures erecting barricades around the courthouse to prepare for possible protests. A Yahoo News reporter spotted members of the National Guard arriving in military vehicles. Several Ferguson-area schools have announced they will be closed Tuesday.

    “The men and women of the National Guard also will be in the area to provide security at critical facilities like firehouses, police stations and utility substations, and offer logistical and transportation support as needed. This will free up law enforcement officers to do their jobs effectively," Nixon said.

    Anxiety over the decision has kept the St. Louis region on edge.


  • No promise Ferguson grand jury evidence will be made public, court says

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 1 day ago

    For three months, prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch has said he would seek a rare court order from Judge Carolyn Whittington immediately releasing nearly all evidence should Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson not be charged. Grand jury proceedings usually remain secret.

    “We’ve asked the judge to do that, and the judge has agreed that she will do that, if there is no indictment,” McCulloch said during a radio interview with KTRS in September. “There’s no probably about it, it will be released.”

    On Sunday, however, the court said, “Judge Whittington has entered no such order and has made no such agreement,” according to director of judicial admnistration Paul Fox.

    The written statement from Fox comes two days after McCulloch’s office sent reporters instructions on how to connect to a county Web server to retrieve the records.

    “In the event the transcripts are released, this will be the site you will access,” read an email to Yahoo News.

    A spokesperson for the prosecutor didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

  • Reports: Ferguson grand jury still undecided, reconvening Monday

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 2 days ago

    Nearly a week after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency ahead of a decision in the contentious Ferguson police shooting, reports surfaced Saturday that an announcement may not be imminent.

    Local media, quoting unidentified sources, reported that the panel won’t rule before the end of the weekend. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the grand jury is still gathering information.

    Downtown STL Inc., a  civic group that promotes St. Louis businesses, told members in an email Saturday that the grand jury will reconvene Monday, the AP reported. The email did not explain how the group knew the information.

    [Related: St. Louis County fortifies police headquarters before grand jury ruling]

    Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

  • St. Louis County fortifies police headquarters before Ferguson grand jury ruling

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 2 days ago

    Workers scrambled Saturday morning to barricade police headquarters and other government buildings, residents grabbed supplies at a corner store and some shop owners finished boarding up windows.

    “We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Quentin Virgil who repairs shoes across the street from the St. Louis County Police Department. “The law office next door is boarded up. That’s not normal.”

    Nothing in the St. Louis area seems normal as the community anxiously awaits a grand jury’s findings in the case of a white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen. 

    Brown's death promoted riots in August, and there is a fear among some locals that another round of violence could cost lives and livelihoods.

    “I try not to think about it, but if they break my window, they’ll put me out of business,” Maria Mathias, owner of Busy Bee Alterations & Shoe Repair. “They've really got my heart pumping right now."

    Mathias, a business owner in Clayton for 23 years, watched with angst Saturday morning as workers secured the police department across the street.

    “I can’t afford that,” she said.

  • Ferguson father delivers plea for peace ahead of grand jury decision on Officer Darren Wilson

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 4 days ago

    “No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain — I want it to lead to positive change,” a very somber Brown says in a public service announcement released late Thursday. “I thank you for lifting your voices to end racial profiling and police intimidation, but hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.”

    Brown’s son and namesake, 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr., was gunned down by a Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, on Aug. 9.

    Anxiety over the ruling has the St. Louis region on edge, as the public waits to see if the case of a white police officer fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager will result in an indictment.

    A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case for three months and will decide if there is probable cause to charge Wilson, 28, with a crime. The officer could face up to life in prison if the case proceeds to trial.

    Jason Sickles is a reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).

  • As Ferguson waits on edge for Michael Brown ruling, Officer Darren Wilson remains invisible

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 4 days ago

    While the world awaits the grand jury’s decision in the death of teenager Michael Brown, the police officer who shot him also remains somewhat of a mystery.

    Wilson has been seemingly invisible since the controversial Aug. 9 shooting. He reportedly testified before the grand jury last month, but has made no public statements.

    “I talk to him every other day, he’s doing OK,” a close friend of the officer told Yahoo News this week.

    The friend declined to elaborate. “Maybe after the grand jury ruling,” he said.

    That decision is expected any day. The grand jury convened Aug. 20 to begin hearing evidence in the case. It will decide if Wilson avoids being charged or faces the possibility of up to life in prison. 

    A representative with the St. Louis Police Officers' Association said he met with Wilson on Thursday. The officer has been under a lot of pressure and stress but seems confident in the outcome of the grand jury investigation, Jeff Roorda, the union's business manager, told the AP.

  • Video shows Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson leaving for the hospital after shooting Michael Brown

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 9 days ago

    Wilson, wearing an untucked white T-shirt, is seen walking out of the building at 2:08 p.m., a little more than two hours after Brown’s death. He was accompanied by his union lawyer and other officers.

    At 4:30 p.m., surveillance cameras at the Ferguson Police Department capture Wilson and the other men returning from the hospital.

    The surveillance videos — obtained through the state’s open records law — were published late Friday in a story by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

    Wilson, who has not been seen in public since being put on paid leave, is under investigation for shooting the unarmed 18-year-old multiple times in broad daylight in the middle of a residential street.

    “He almost lost consciousness,” the source said of the officer’s account. Wilson described the 6-foot-4, 289 pound teen as “incredibly strong.”

  • Chief: Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson ‘immediately’ returns if cleared in Michael Brown's death

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 9 days ago

    Officer Darren Wilson has been on paid leave since the controversial shooting in early August.

    He would come back to a “not yet determined assignment,” the chief writes in an email.

    If the grand jury charges Wilson, Jackson said the officer would “most likely” be terminated “if it is a felony.”

    Attorneys representing the officer did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Wilson, a Ferguson officer for three years, has not spoken publicly since the shooting. It is unknown if the 28-year-old Wilson wants to return to the force.

    “I would be surprised if they put him back on the streets at least in the near future,” said Bob Gorsky, a Dallas attorney who has represented Texas police officers for nearly 40 years.

    Gorsky said the amount of backing Wilson gets from the Ferguson Police Department will likely play a big role in the officer's decision to return.

    “He’s always going to be dealing with the emotional scars of the event itself, not to mention the scrutiny he’s gone through,” Gorsky said. “It’s going to be a tough situation for him. Hopefully the department will support him if he’s not charged with a crime.”

  • Ferguson's neighbor warns residents to prepare for the worst

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 11 days ago

    “The grand jury decision regarding the Ferguson police officer shooting of Michael Brown is expected this month — rumored as the middle of November, possibly this week,” warned the “News Alert” from town officials.

    “It is important that we all plan ahead in the event that conditions warrant each of us to stay at or very close to our homes for several days,” stated the flier, which Berkeley distributed to 3,000 homes this week.

    Berkeley, a bedroom community with 9,000 residents, borders Ferguson, where the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager on Aug. 9 triggered protests and riots and sparked a nationwide debate on race, policing and justice.

    With few businesses in Berkeley, residents like Colburn do their shopping in neighboring Ferguson.

    “It is very sad that we have to live in this fear,” Colburn told Yahoo News by email.

    No date has been set for the grand jury’s ruling, but St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch has said he expects an announcement in mid- to late November.

    Hoskins said feedback on the town’s decision has been mostly positive.

  • America all clear of Ebola — for now

    Jason Sickles, Yahoo at Yahoo News 13 days ago

    DALLAS — For the first time in nearly 10 weeks, no Ebola patient is being treated for the deadly disease in the United States.

    America’s all-clear came Tuesday morning when Dr. Craig Spencer was declared virus-free and released from a New York City hospital.

    Spencer contracted the disease while treating Ebola patients in Guinea, but didn’t become ill until he returned home late last month. He had been in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center since he was diagnosed with the virus on Oct. 23.

    “My recovery from Ebola speaks to the effectiveness of the protocols in place for health staff returning from West Africa at the time of my infection,” Spencer, a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, said in a written statement.

    “I am a living example of how those protocols work, and of how early detection and isolation is critical to both surviving Ebola and ensuring that it is not transmitted to others,” he said.

    Nurses Nina Pham, 26, and Amber Vinson, 29, then contracted the virus while caring for Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.