The St. Louis County prosecutor is investigating the grand jury that is considering whether to indict the Ferguson police officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager has ignited weeks of protests, the New York Times reported.
The investigation was set off by a message posted on Twitter, in which the poster claimed to have a friend on the grand jury and said there was not enough evidence for an arrest, the Times reported on Tuesday.
“I know someone sitting on the grand jury of this case,” posted Susan M. Nichols, according to the newspaper. “There isn’t enough at this point to warrant an arrest. #Ferguson.”
Her account has since been deleted.
The grand jury is considering whether to indict officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9.
“We just got the information this morning and will be looking into the matter,” Edward Magee, a spokesman for county prosecutor Robert McCulloch, told the Times.
Reuters could not independently verify the report. Requests to the prosecutor’s office for information were not immediately returned.
Grand jury proceedings are supposed to remain closed to the public, and grand jurors are routinely reminded they may not discuss the case with anyone or read media coverage of the case.
The shooting took place at midday in a residential neighborhood of the mostly black town of Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis. It has since sparked angry and sometimes violent demonstrations that have continued as the grand jury meets.
Brown’s family, protesters and civil rights leaders have demanded that Wilson be charged with a crime. Many protesters, who refer to Wilson as the “killer cop,” have pledged that there will be widespread civil unrest if he is not.
Wilson, who has been in hiding since the shooting, spent nearly four hours telling his version of events to the 12 members of the grand jury last month, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.
A law professor told the Times that the current grand jury panel, which has nearly finished hearing evidence in the case, could continue without the juror who discussed the case, if any wrongdoing is found.
“You don’t need unanimity for them to make a decision for them to indict or not indict,” Peter A. Joy, a professor at Washington University law school, told the newspaper. “If somebody was removed, the other 11 would continue deliberating, and then they would reach a decision.”
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Larry King)