Protest, riots erupt across the country after grand jury chooses not to indict officer Darren Wilson
By: Richard Meyer ~Copy Editor~
Police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted by a grand jury on Nov. 24 following a three-month trial that debated his role in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014.
The killing comes two years after the Trayvon Martin shooting in 2012, which began a national conversation on the issue of police brutality and racial profiling.
The man accused in Martin’s shooting, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of all charges in June 2013.
The 12 people sitting on the Missouri jury found that there was not sufficient evidence to indict Wilson for killing Brown. Had there been sufficient evidence, Wilson, 28, would have gone on criminal trial for charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first degree murder.
The case following Brown’s death sparked controversy, as it is unclear what happened when he was shot. Some witnesses have said that Brown raised his hands in surrender while others claimed that Wilson shot him out of self-defense as Brown was attacking him.
Moments after the announcement, President Barack Obama urged people to stay calm in a press conference.
“We are a nation built on the rule of law, and so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make,” Obama said. “There are Americans who agree with it and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry. It’s an understandable reaction. But I join Michael’s parents in asking anyone who protests this decision to do so peacefully.”
Since Nov. 24, many businesses in the St. Louis and Ferguson areas have been looted, burned and destroyed. Protestors even stopped traffic on Interstate 44 in St. Louis. Some of the St. Louis Rams football team also voiced their protest, with five players entering the stadium in what has been called the “Hands up, don’t shoot” pose.
Wilson had been on the police force in Ferguson for three years at the time of the incident.
On Nov. 30, following the trial, Wilson resigned the position and has been denied a severance package by the state.
Some demonstrations are still taking place in cities around the country