Ferguson protesters renew call to remove prosecutor as grand jury's term extended

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FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2014 file photo the casket containing the body of Michael Brown is surrounded people gathered to say goodbye as it leaves Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. A judge Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 extended into January the term of the grand jury considering whether a white suburban St. Louis police officer should be charged in the shooting death of a black 18-year-old. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post Dispatch, Robert Cohen, Pool, File)


CLAYTON, Missouri — Protesters seeking the immediate arrest of the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old disrupted a government meeting Tuesday, renewing calls to remove the county prosecutor investigating the case.

The demand for Darren Wilson's arrest and the recusal of the St. Louis county prosecuting attorney began with the final utterance of the Pledge of Allegiance at the St. Louis County Council meeting.

"For all," crowd members shouted as the pledge concluded with, "and justice for all."

A protest also took place a week ago, at the Ferguson City Council's first meeting since Michael Brown's death.

Brown, who was black, was fatally shot Aug. 9 after a confrontation that began when Wilson asked Brown and a friend to walk on the sidewalk instead of the street. Police have said that Brown and Wilson became involved in a confrontation inside Wilson's squad car. The confrontation then spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times.

The shooting led to protests and significant unrest in Ferguson and has spurred a national discussion about police treatment of African-Americans. In addition to a local grand jury investigation, the Justice Department is conducting separate investigations.

Critics have called for Prosecutor Bob McCulloch to either step aside or for Gov. Jay Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor, citing concerns about whether McCulloch could fairly oversee the case. McCulloch's father was a police officer killed in the line of duty by a black assailant in the 1960s.

McCulloch, who has been the county's elected prosecutor for more than two decades, could have filed charges himself but chose to take the case to a grand jury. He has said he will present all evidence gathered and let the grand jury decide whether the use of lethal force was justified, rather than make a recommendation.

As expected, the grand jury investigation into Brown's death has gone past the panel's four-month term, which was to expire on Sept. 10. St. Louis County Circuit Judge Carolyn Whittington that day granted an extension until January — the longest allowed by Missouri law.

The extension does not mean the grand jury will meet until January but "just gives them that window," said St. Louis County Court Administrator Paul Fox. He noted that the grand jury is focused strictly on the shooting death of Brown by Wilson and is not considering any other cases.

McCulloch has said previously that the investigation is expected to last into mid-October. A spokesman for McCullough was out of the office this week and didn't respond to calls from The Associated Press seeking an update on the status of the investigation.

The grand jury includes six white men, three white women, two black women and one black man. Nine votes are needed to indict.

Wilson remains on paid administrative leave pending the investigations. The name of his attorney has not been made public.

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Associated Press writer Jim Salter in St. Louis contributed to this report.

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