Missouri grand jury to convene on Ferguson police shooting

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A grand jury is set to convene in Missouri, US to decide on whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson, who is accused of the wrongful killing of black teenager Michael Brown.

Brown, who was killed after an alleged confrontation with the officer, was reportedly unarmed and was shot from a distance of 35 feet (10.6 m).

The autopsy on Brown’s body revealed that he was shot six times by the officer, and that he was possibly in the middle of surrendering when he was shot.

One of the wounds Brown sustained was in the “very top of his head”, which could be an indication that he was lowering his head in surrender.

The members of the grand jury picked for the case are made up of three African Americans and nine whites, which could cause controversy given the possible racial undertones of the shooting.

The US justice system has drawn criticism over possible racial prejudice, with a disproportionate number of blacks facing arrests and prosecutions across the country.

Police actions have been under heavy scrutiny after protests erupted following Brown’s shooting, with criticism rising over the militarisation of police departments across the US.

US President Barack Obama recently said it is time to re-examine programmes that allow local US police divisions to acquire military grade equipment from the Department of Defence.

The practice of equipping police with military equipment, including heavily armoured, mine resistant vehicles, has drawn attention as images emerged out of Ferguson showing a police force that is heavily reminiscent of an army unit.