Ferguson timeline documents a community’s outrage

(AP Photo)

(CNN) — Ferguson, Missouri will have to be patient.

The grand jury that is to decide whether or not officer Darren Wilson should be indicted for the shooting of Michael Brown is reconvening on Monday. Authorities and officials are preparing for possible riots and looting.

What has become a modern day civil rights movement began as a police shooting in a city near St. Louis the rest of the nation barely knew.

An unarmed African American teenager shot dead by a white police officer, dividing the city of Ferguson, and in time sparking a national debate.

At the heart of this case is whether 18-year-old Michael Brown was surrendering when he was shot dead by 28-year-old officer Darren Wilson, or whether the officer feared for his life.

It began August 9, with Wilson in his patrol car, ordering Brown to get out of the middle of the street.

A confrontation at the car followed. Autopsy results later revealed two shots were fired inside the patrol car. In leaked grand jury testimony, Wilson claimed Brown was reaching for his gun. Brown’s friend and witnesses said Wilson was the aggressor and Brown was trying to get away.

Brown did get free, but moments later he was dead, shot at least 6 times. The autopsy shows the final shot to the top of the head killed him. The unarmed Brown lay dead in the street for more than four hours.

A young life ends and an uproar begins. August 10, the initial reaction, peaceful protests, but overnight, a few protesters riot — burning a gas station, breaking windows and looting businesses. Tensions explode as police respond in military grade riot gear and armored vehicles. Tear gas canisters and rubber bullets fly. Gun fire can be heard emanating from somewhere in the crowd.

By daylight the protests continue, loud but largely peaceful.

Day three, the conflict escalates when a police officer is seen aiming his weapon at a protester. A tear gas container is thrown at police.

Police are criticized for arresting journalists trying to cover the conflict.

The next day, August 14, the Missouri Highway Patrol’s Capt. Ron Johnson is brought in to coordinate the police response. Tensions lower.

But August 15, police finally release officer Wilson’s name, but also release surveillance video they say shows Brown shoving a clerk at a nearby store, alleging he stole cigarillos. Protesters react with fury, saying the timing was a ploy by police to justify Brown’s death.

The next day, August 16, Governor Jay Nixon declares a state of emergency, and imposes a curfew.

August 18, the national guard is called in and several journalists are arrested.

August 25, quiet finally comes to the streets on the day Mike Brown is laid to rest. As tears flow at Brown’s memorial, protesters want officer Wilson charged with a crime.

They don’t trust St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch to do it, saying his father was a police officer himself, killed by a black man in the line of duty.

Protesters march Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, along a stretch of road where violent protests occurred following the August shooting of unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Ferguson and the St. Louis region are on edge in anticipation of the announcement by a grand jury whether to criminally charge Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Protesters march Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, along a stretch of road where violent protests occurred following the August shooting of unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Ferguson and the St. Louis region are on edge in anticipation of the announcement by a grand jury whether to criminally charge Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

As months pass, protests continue daily, mostly peaceful but always intense, with police facing jeers and sometimes water bottles being thrown at them.

Leaks to the media about the investigation spark more skepticism about the judicial process.

But ultimately 12 people, three of them African American and nine Caucasians, who make up the grand jury will decide Wilson’s fate.

A battered and emotional town wonders what will happen next, and how much more it can take.

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