Justice

BREAKING: Darren Wilson Walks After Grand Jury Decides No Indictment

November 25th 2014

By:
ATTN: Staff

Update: Attorney General Eric Holder has released a statement:

“While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing.  Though we have shared information with local prosecutors during the course of our investigation, the federal inquiry has been independent of the local one from the start, and remains so now.  Even at this mature stage of the investigation, we have avoided prejudging any of the evidence.  And although federal civil rights law imposes a high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted forming premature conclusions.

“Michael Brown’s death was a tragedy.  This incident has sparked a national conversation about the need to ensure confidence between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve.  While constructive efforts are underway in Ferguson and communities nationwide, far more must be done to create enduring trust.  The Department will continue to work with law enforcement, civil rights, faith and community leaders across the country to foster effective relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve and to improve fairness in the criminal justice system overall.  In addition, the Department continues to investigate allegations of unconstitutional policing patterns or practices by the Ferguson Police Department.

“Though there will be disagreement with the grand jury's decision not to indict, this feeling should not lead to violence.  Those who decide to participate in demonstrations should remember the wishes of Michael Brown's parents, who have asked that remembrances of their son be conducted peacefully.  It does not honor his memory to engage in violence or looting.  In the coming days, it will likewise be important for local law enforcement authorities to respect the rights of demonstrators, and deescalate tensions by avoiding excessive displays—and uses—of force.”

Update: Ferguson protestors have released a statement:

The Results Are In
An Open Letter from Protestors On The Grand Jury Decision (11.24.14)

In Ferguson, a wound bleeds. 

For 108 days, we have been in a state of prolonged and protracted 
grief. In that time, we have found community with one another, bonding together as family around the simple notion that our love for our community compels us to fight for our community. We have had no choice but to cling together in hope, faith, love, and indomitable determination to capture that ever escaping reality of justice. 

After 108 days, that bleeding wound has been reopened, salt poured in, insult added to the deepest of injury. On August 9th, we found ourselves pushed into unknown territory, learning day by day, minute by minute, to lead and support a movement bigger than ourselves, the most important of our lifetime. We were indeed unprepared to begin with, and even in our maturation through these 108 days, we find ourselves reinjured, continually heartbroken, and robbed of even the remote possibility of judicial resolution. A life has been violently taken before it could barely begin. In this moment, we know, beyond any doubt, that no one will be held accountable within the confines of a system to which we were taught to pledge allegiance. The very hands with which we pledged that allegiance were not enough to save Mike in surrender. 

Once again, in our community, in our country, that pledge has returned to us void.

For 108 days, we have continuously been admonished that we should “let the system work,” and wait to see what the results are. 

The results are in.

And we still don’t have justice.

This fight for the dignity of our people, for the importance of our lives, for the protection of our children, is one that did not begin Michael’s murder and will not end with this announcement. The ‘system’ you
have told us to rely on has kept us on the margins of society. This system has housed us in her worst homes, educated our children in her worst schools, locked up our men at disproportionate rates and shamed our women for receiving the support they need to be our mothers. This system you have admonished us to believe in has consistently, unfailingly, and unabashedly let us down and kicked us out, time and time again.

This same system in which you’ve told us to trust--this same system meant to serve and protect citizens-- has once again killed two more of our unarmed brothers: Walking up a staircase and shot down in cold blood, we fight for Akai Gurley; Playing with a toy after police had been warned that he held a bb gun and not a real gun at only twelve years old, we fight for Tamir Rice.

So you will likely ask yourself, now that the announcement has been made, why we will still take to the streets? Why we will still raise our voices to protect our community? Why will still cry tears of heartbreak and sing songs of determination? 

We will continue to struggle because without struggle, there is no progress. 

We will continue to disrupt life, because without disruption we fear for our lives.

We will continue because Assata reminds us daily that “it is our duty to fight for freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Those chains have bound us-all of us- up for too long. And do not be mistaken- if one of us is bound, we all are. We are, altogether, bound up in a system that continues to treat some men better than others. A system that preserves some and disregards others. A system that protects the rights of some and does not guard the rights of all. 

And until this system is dismantled, until the status quo that deems us less valuable than others is no longer acceptable or profitable, we will struggle. We will fight. We will protest. 

Grief, even in its most righteous state, cannot last forever. No community can sustain itself this way. 

So we still continue to stand for progress, and stand alongside anyone who will make a personal investment in ending our grief and will take a personal stake in achieving justice. 

We march on with purpose. The work continues. This is not a moment but a movement. The movement lives.

This letter was written and signed by numerous protestors and supporters, too many to list. Permission is granted in advance for reproduction by all outlets.

Update: Viral Vine of Michael Brown's mother:

 

Update: Photos of officer Darren Wilson's injuries taken immediately after the shooting death of Michael Brown were just released:

Update: Photos from some of the simultaneous protests taking place across the country tonight:

Update: Read the full statement of Michael Brown's family here:

"We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.

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.

Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.

We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.

Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference."

Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr.

Parents of Michael Brown, Jr.

Update: Here's what President Obama had to say in remarks:

President Obama: "We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for Ferguson, this is an issue for America. We have made enormous progress in race relations in the course of the past several decades. I've witnessed that in my whole life... and to deny that progress is to deny America's capacity for change. But what is also true is that there are still problems and communities of color are not making these problems up."

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Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown will not face charges in the teen’s death. The Aug. 9th shooting of Brown set off protests that lasted for weeks in Ferguson, Mo., a northern suburb of St. Louis.

“The world is watching,” said St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough after he announced the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson during a 20 minute statement read several hours after the Grand Jury finished convening.  

McCullough went on to detail the version of events of what happened the day Brown died, claiming Wilson observed that Brown was the same suspect in an earlier theft. During testimony the jurors also heard that Officer Wilson fired 12 rounds at Michael Brown. McCullough also implied conflict between witness testimony and physical evidence leading to no charges being filed.

Calling Brown’s death a “tragic loss regardless of the circumstances,” McCullough’s statement admonished the media, praised the Grand Jury and gave a version of events from the day Brown died.  

McCullough blamed the ”24-hour news cycle” for further enflaming tensions in the three months since Brown’s shooting took place, citing leaks and conflicting, inaccurate information pushed by the press surrounding the case. 

With nearby school districts shuttering doors and the St. Louis Galleria Mall closing early, the lengthy time leading up to the announcement left the feeling of an impending siege. For days, businesses in Ferguson have been boarded up, preparing for the worst with the governor of Missouri adding to the fervor by declaring a state of emergency almost a week prior to the announcement. 

To learn more about what you can do to take action, please read this piece we posted shortly after Mike Brown's death: Real Change after Ferguson, What We Can Do