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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

November 24, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Seattle preparing for Ferguson grand jury decision

About 100 people gathered at Westlake Park as the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision was announced. Many participated in a "die in" in the streets near the park in downtown Seattle.  (Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

About 100 people gathered at Westlake Park as the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision was announced. Many participated in a “die in” in the streets near the park in downtown Seattle. (Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is likely to hold a news briefing this evening to discuss the announcement of the grand-jury decision in Ferguson, MO., according to sources briefed on the plan.

Murray is planning to speak about 7 p.m., after officials in Missouri make their announcement at 6 p.m., the sources said.

Protests are planned in Seattle.

As part of the city’s preparations, Seattle police working the department’s second shift have been told not to go home this evening until they get approval from a supervisor, according to sources familiar with the directive.

The directive was issued Monday by Assistant Chief Nick Metz, who oversees the patrol bureau, and applies to officers who work from late morning to mid-evening, the sources said.

Seattle’s emergency operations center will be activated after the grand-jury decision in is announced, a Seattle police official said Monday.

Capt. Chris Fowler, commander of the Seattle Police Department’s West Precinct, has been designated to be the incident commander to handle any protests or unrest arising from the decision. Fowler earned widespread praise for his handling of May Day protests the past two years, in which violence was kept to a minimum.

The city also plans to host “Rapid Response” events to help community members process the decision.

The Rev. Harriett Walden, co-founder of Mothers for Police Accountability, a social-justice and advocacy organization in Seattle, helped develop the response plan, according to a news release. Her organization has partnered with Seattle Parks and Recreation and police.

“Regardless of the decision, we need a place for our young people to come process this event,” Walden said in the release.  “We need to be able to channel the energy into constructive and positive outcomes and answer the basic question: What do we do now?  We are looking for adults in the community to come out and just be a presence at each event.”

Organizers are hoping to turn reactions into positive actions by channeling anger into strategic plans for the Seattle community, according to the release.

A spokesman for St. Louis County’s top prosecutor in Missouri revealed the timing  for this evening’s announcement on the grand-jury decision,  The Associated Press reported.  The 12-member grand jury has been hearing testimony and reviewing evidence for months.

Three hours after the decision is announced, Garfield Community Center, 2323 E. Cherry St.; and Van Asselt Community Center, 2820 S. Myrtle St., will be open to the public.

That will apply even if the decision comes during non-business hours.

For more information, call 206-380-1710.

Related: Ferguson police officer won’t be charged in fatal shooting

Seattle protesters take to the streets to decry Ferguson decision

 

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Ferguson, grand jury, Mothers for Police Accountability

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