Ferguson protesters attempt to overturn a police car following decision not to indict Officer Wilson
Triggering violent protests, fires, looting and over a hundred gunshots reportedly fired in escalating mayhem, a St. Louis County grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black teen Michael Brown Jr., the prosecutor’s office announced Monday evening.
Wilson, 28, shot and killed Brown on a Ferguson street Aug. 9 after a confrontation as the 18-year-old and a friend returned from a convenience store. Surveillance video released that day appeared to show Brown strong-arming a clerk at the store and stealing a box of cigars.
Some witnesses told media the 6’4″ and nearly 300-pound Brown, who was unarmed, had his hands raised in an attempt to surrender when he was killed. The growing narrative of an unarmed black teen shot to death by a white cop prompted rioting and looting in the Ferguson area. But subsequent leaks of grand jury evidence indicated Brown attacked and injured Wilson, and the officer feared for his life.
St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch makes Ferguson announcement
When St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the decision, he said, “The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction.” Later in his announcement, he revealed, “They determined that no probable cause exists to indict Darren Wilson.” He emphasized that the grand jurors are “the only people who have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence.”
“The physical and scientific evidence examined by the grand jury, combined with the witness statements, supported and substantiated by that physical evidence, tells the accurate and tragic story of what happened,” he said.
McCulloch, who offered his sympathy to the Brown family, said 70 witnesses gave dozens of hours of testimony to the 12-person grand jury. The grand jury included six white men, three white women, two black women and one black man. Nine votes were needed to indict Wilson.
In a statement made from the White House, President Obama said, “We are a nation built on the rule of law, so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make. I appeal to law enforcement to show caring and restraint in managing peaceful protests.” He urged any protests to be peaceful, saying, “Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.”
Obama added, “There are still problems, and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up,” and, “America isn’t everything that it could be.”
As the news broke, there were reports of shots fired, tear-gas deployed and Ferguson protesters attempting to flip a county police car. Fires were shown burning in Ferguson as Obama spoke. Some rioters threw bottles and rocks, and others looted Ferguson Market & Liquor Store, running out of the store with numerous bottles cradled in their arms. According to reports, the windows of a McDonald’s were smashed, and a Walgreens and Little Caesar’s Pizza were set ablaze. Protesters shut down I-44 in St. Louis.
Steve Harrigan of Fox News said rioters were yelling, “F— the police!” and “F— Fox News!”
Ferguson Walgreens after rioters
First police car burns in Ferguson as President Obama speaks
Second police car burns in Ferguson after decision Monday night
Obama called on police to use restraint: “They’ve got a tough job to do. As they do their jobs in the coming days, they need to work with the community, not against the community.”
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told Ferguson protesters, “As we continue to await word on the U.S. Justice Department’s ongoing investigation, I urge all those voicing their opinions regarding the grand jury’s decision to do so peacefully. I also urge everyone to continue working to make positive changes that will yield long-term social, economic and spiritual benefits for all our communities.
“My commitment to the people of the region and state is this: I will do everything in my power to keep you safe and protect your right to speak. We must also make a commitment to one another: to trust more and fear less, to hold ourselves to a higher standard of personal responsibility and mutual respect, and to keep working to extend the promise of America to all our citizens.”
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