Ferguson Conspiracy? Speculation Rampant Amid Grand Jury Decision

November 17, 2014 Updated: November 17, 2014

A number of people on social media sites like Twitter have claimed there’s a conspiracy behind the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri.

The grand jury is expected to hand down a decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August, sparking protests and riots.

After the grand jury returns its decision, it is believed there will be more protests.

On Monday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon issued a state of emergency and called in the National Guard in response to the pending protests.

“Not a conspiracy theorist, but #Ferguson calling State of Emergency before a grand jury verdict is announced pretty much says no indictment,” one person–a screenwriter–tweeted on Monday.

Added another: “I’m certain that they want violent confrontation. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’m awake. #Ferguson.”

But also on the same day, The Daily Beast published an editorial and said there’s “no conspiracy.”

The publication touches on the grand jury’s secrecy in deciding on Wilson’s case.

“The grand jury’s strict secrecy rules were designed to encourage all witnesses with knowledge to testify openly and honestly without fear of ridicule or community scorn. The proceeding is not intended to be a public spectacle or even a much-needed forum to expose the often unfair treatment of black youth by the police,” it reads.

It adds: “The grand jury’s only duty is to sift the evidence to find the truth about the tragic encounter between Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown. If the evidence provides reasonable cause to believe a crime was committed, the grand jurors’ oath requires a vote to indict.”

Nixon said the National Guard would assist state and local police in case the grand jury’s decision leads to a resurgence of the civil unrest that occurred in the days immediately after the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

“My hope and expectation is that peace will prevail,” Nixon said. “But we have a responsibility — I have a responsibility — to plan for any contingencies that might arise.”

There is no specific date for a grand jury decision to be revealed, and Nixon gave no indication that an announcement is imminent. But St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch has said that he expects the grand jury to reach a decision in mid-to-late November.

The U.S. Justice Department, which is conducting a separate investigation, has not said when its work will be completed.

Before the shooting, Wilson spotted Brown and a friend walking in the middle of a street and told them to stop, but they did not. According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report based on sources the newspaper did not identify, Wilson has told authorities he then realized Brown matched the description of a suspect in a theft minutes earlier at a convenience store. Wilson backed up his police vehicle and some sort of confrontation occurred before Brown was fatally shot. He was unarmed and some witnesses have said he had his hands up when he was killed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.