Violence erupts after Grand Jury Decision to not indict Officer Wilson

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Top Left: State Prosecutor Robert McCullough delivers the grand jury decision. Center Right:  Officer Darren Wilson showing where Michael Brown punched him. Bottom Photo: Michael Brown.  Various riot photos last night in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Updated 8:00 a.m., Nov. 25, 2014 – NBC News reports parts of Ferguson still smoldering this morning and peaceful protests in cities nationwide overnight. More protests are expected today. More than 80 people were arrested in Ferguson and St. Louis. On the Today Show, Attorney Benjamin Crump said Brown’s mother was profoundly disappointed by the grand jury decision not to charge Officer Wilson with her son’s death.

by Carol Lim

The Grand Jury in Ferguson, Missouri has decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. The fatal shooting happened on August 9, 2014. After hearing the grand jury’s decision Thursday night,  angry protestors threw rocks and bottles and smashed windows of a St. Louis police car. Most of the violence was in front of the Ferguson Police Department. Police fired bean bags, smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse angry protestors.  Looters also broke into and vandalized Black-owned businesses and other stores in the area.  Gunshots also were heard.  Fires blazed in more vehicles as the situation became more chaotic and dangerous.  Police told reporters to go to a safe place.  CNN reporter Don Lemon said it was virtually difficult to breath with tear gas in the air. A line of  police officers in riot gear moved through the street to try to isolate the troublemakers. Other officers with weapons and in tactical gear stood in front to protect the police  building from violent protestors. The store where Brown left with a handful of Cigarellos without paying for them also was looted.  “It is mayhem out here with people running around and breaking into stores,” a CNN reporter said as people threw things at her.

Before the grand jury’s decision was announced, several hundred people gathered in front of the Ferguson Police Department and the courthouse in Clayton, Missouri where State Prosecutor Robert McCullough made the announcement. He said the grand jury fully investigated and examined the evidence and testimony of many witnesses and experts.  According to the grand jury documents released to reporters and the public, Officer Wilson testified that Michael Brown standing outside the police car, punched Officer Wilson in the face twice and trapped the officer inside his police car.  Officer Wilson testified a third punch might have been fatal or worse. The officer testified that he pulled up to Brown and Dorian Johnson to tell them to walk on the sidewalk after he saw them walking in the middle of the street.  McCullough told reporters that during the grand jury investigation,  there was conflicting testimony from witnesses, but some witnesses testified Brown charged toward Wilson before the officer shot and killed the teenager.

Michael Brown’s family were visibly upset when they heard the grand jury decision. According to their attorney Benjamin Crump, Brown’s parents are  “profoundly  disappointed”  and did not want a violent reaction.  The Brown family, prosecutor McCullough and President Obama urged everyone to accept the grand jury decision, protest peacefully and work to change the criminal justice system.  A federal investigation continues into whether Michael Brown’s civil rights or other laws were violated.

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