Darren Wilson, the cop who killed an unarmed black 18-year old in Missouri will not face state criminal charges.
When Wilson shot Michael Brown, at least 6 times, in Ferguson, Missouri, it triggered a tsunami of protests in the St. Louis suburbs and pushed police sanguinary to the front.
A series of witnesses to the shooting claimed Brown was killed after running from Wilson and lifting his hands in what seemed to be surrender. Bob McCulloch, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney said some of those witnesses had recanted, and others admitted to not seeing the shooting.
“I understand that this decision won’t be accepted by some,” McCulloch said at a press conference. “It may generate disappointment in others. But all determinations in the criminal justice system must be established by the physical and scientific data.”
President Obama refused to comment on the case’s specifics, saying that every American should recognize the decision not to indict Wilson.
“We are a country based on the rule of order. We need to admit that this was the grand jury’s decision,” he said.
While McCulloch held the press conference, protests broke out in Ferguson and other communities. In New York, hundreds gathered in Union Square and Washington DC, demonstrators assembled at The White House.
In Oakland, dozens blocked traffic on I580. The BBC reported protests in Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere.
The jurors in the case had been tasked with reaching a decision whether there was likely cause to indict Wilson with any of five offenses. McCulloch did not clarify the unanimity of the decision. Nine of 12 votes was needed for an indictment.
Autopsies performed found that Brown had been shot by Wilson, at least, a half dozen times — twice in the head. McCulloch said that Wilson’s gun was fired a dozen times.
Following McCulloch’s statement, Brown’s family said: “We are disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.” The family went on to call for peaceful demonstrations and said that “answering violence with violence is not the answer.”
When it was declared that the jury had arrived at a decision, the region braced for more protests. When Brown was killed, there were successive nights of clashes between law enforcement and protesters. Some businesses closed and some school districts canceled school for the week.
Many had anticipated that Wilson would not be indicted. Many involved in the demonstrations accused white authority figures in the city. Ferguson is two-thirds black and Wilson, 28, is white.
Before Brown’s shooting, Ferguson was already boiling over from a long-term disconnect between the population and law enforcement. Many accused McCulloch, whose dad was a white police officer murdered by a black man, of having a pro-police bent and repeatedly made demands for his recusal. McCulloch refused, and many citizens felt McCulloch could have gotten an indictment if he wanted.
McCullouch was not liked in the community before Brown’s death. A petition was handed around, asking for McCullouch’s removal, and accumulated over 70,000 signatures. Again, he refused.
“What the citizens of Ferguson were protesting is not that Wilson was unconvicted. Wilson was never on trial. What citizens, across the nation, protested was the fact that there was no unbiased and straightforward conclusion of facts in an adversarial proceeding; that there was no trial,” said New York Attorney, Arkady Bukh.
Stokely Irion, a frequent contributor to Quora said:
“You can’t show people time and again that the law counts only when used on them and still demand them to happily follow it.”
When asked if he had a message for the Brown family, McCulloch replied: “My heart goes out to them. They lost a young man; they lost a young life.”
“No young man should ever be killed by a police officer,” he added.