Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in August, was not indicted by a grand jury today.
The decision has already sparked renewed protests, for which local police have been preparing: according to a Guardian report, the St. Louis County police department has spent $172,669 on riot gear since August, and the Washington Post writes that police and demonstrators have been working on mutual "rules of engagement" to limit violence. In anticipation of the protests, on Monday Missouri governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency last week and activated the National Guard.
During a surreal, smirking news conference, the St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert P. McCulloch said the grand jury heard 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses over the course of 25 days. The jury, McCulloch said, deliberated for two days before reaching their decision.
McCulloch released some information from the hearing. According to the prosecutor, Brown came toward Wilson's car, leading the officer to fire his gun 12 times, twice from inside his car and 10 times outside it. Brown's body was found 153 feet east of Wilson's car. McCulloch also said there were conflicting accounts about whether Brown raised his hands before the shooting.
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.
"Today, a St. Louis County grand jury released its decision that no charges would be filed in the case involving Officer Darren Wilson. From the onset, we have maintained and the grand jury agreed that Officer Wilson's actions on August 9 were in accordance with the laws and regulations that govern the procedures of an officer.
"In a case of this magnitude, a team of prosecutors rightfully presented evidence to this St. Louis County grand jury. This group of citizens, drawn at random from the community, listened to witnesses and heard all the evidence in the case. Based on the evidence and witness testimony, the grand jury collectively determined there was no basis for criminal charges against Officer Wilson.
"Law enforcement personnel must frequently make split-second and difficult decisions. Officer Wilson followed his training and followed the law. We recognize that many people will want to second-guess the grand jury's decision. We would encourage anyone who wants to express an opinion do so in a respectful and peaceful manner.
"On a side note, Officer Wilson would like to thank those who have stood by his side throughout the process. This continued support is greatly appreciated by Officer Wilson and his family. Moving forward, any commentary on this matter will be done in the appropriate venue and not through the media."