A grand jury declined to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, after an encounter in the St. Louis, USA, suburb on August 9.
File Photo: Darren Wilson (left) Michael Brown (right)
The decision, announced this evening, means Wilson will not face criminal charges in a case that set off sustained unrest and ignited a national debate about race, privilege and policing in America.
The announcement immediately revived the frustrations of protesters who filled the streets of Ferguson for weeks this summer, and had made elaborate preparations to demonstrate against the outcome many predicted from the grand jury.
In a statement, Brown’s family called for peaceful protest and urged support for their campaign to promote police body cameras. “We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions,” the statement said.
“While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.” they further commented.
As the decision neared, police were poised for protestors’ frustration to spill over. City, county and state officers, as well as National Guard, were marshaled under a unified command as part of a state of emergency that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon imposed in advance on Nov. 17, citing “the possibility of expanded unrest.”
The atmosphere has been so charged that many area schools closed early for Thanksgiving break and Nixon reiterated his call for calm today ahead of the grand jury’s announcement.
Two federal investigations are still pending. The FBI is investigating whether Wilson violated Brown’s civil rights. Separately, the Justice Department is examining the civil rights record of the Ferguson Police Department as a whole. And Brown’s family could still file a civil wrongful death lawsuit.