A grand jury did not indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for any crimes related to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.
Wilson, who is white, shot and killed Brown, who was unarmed and black, in an Aug. 9 incident that has stoked anger and debate in Ferguson and beyond.
St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch began his news conference at a courthouse in Clayton, Mo., around 8:15 p.m. local time Monday, by expressing his sympathies for Brown’s family, noting that they lost a loved one to violence.
Public reaction was both swift and mixed, with reports of police using smoke to disperse crowds in some areas, while in others, protesters marched peacefully. Close to where Brown was killed in Ferguson, police officers were reportedly hit with rocks, bottles and batteries. A patrol car was set on fire.
Late Monday, the FAA issued a no-fly zone order for the airspace over Ferguson, a decision that applies to both commercial airliners and media helicopters, The Los Angeles Times’ Matt Pierce reports.
This story is developing, and we’re updating this post to reflect the latest news.
Michael Brown’s family, which has called for calm in their community, said tonight, “We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.”
They continued, “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.”
Announcing the jury’s decision, McCulloch also reiterated an earlier promise to release a package of documents, including audio and photos, from the grand jury’s review of the case.
Protests continue to grow in NYC, Ferguson, Oakland and Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/IWna6wLVoh
— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) November 25, 2014
jurors’ vote, as it is kept secret. As we reported earlier, “The grand jury is made up of nine white and three black jurors; seven are men and five are women. A decision on criminal charges requires
agreement from at least nine of the 12.” Update at 1 a.m. ET: Businesses Burn In Ferguson; FAA Restricts Air Traffic Reporters with St. Louis Public Radio say businesses in and near
Ferguson, Mo., are on fire, others are being looted, and local hospitals and police have reported multiple injuries. As the chaos erupted, the Federal Aviation Administration imposed flight restrictions
because of shots being fired into the sky, and diverted at least 10 inbound planes to other airports,The Associated Press reports. Media helicopters also were affected by the restrictions. Protests
Large groups of protesters also were reported in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Seattle.
Update at 11:35 p.m. ET: Federal Inquiry ‘Remains Ongoing,’ Holder Says
“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,” Attorney General Eric Holder says.
He added, “although federal civil rights law imposes a high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted forming premature conclusions.”
The attorney general went on to echo some of President Obama’s comments, citing the need for “a national conversation about the need to ensure confidence between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve.”
Update at 11 p.m. ET: Reports Of Looting And Blocked Roads
Images out of Ferguson show scenes of a fire inside a Walgreen’s store, In addition, a portion of I-44 was closed after a crowd of protesters spilled across the road. Police reportedly deployed smoke, but many on the ground reported being affected by tear gas.
Update at 10:15 p.m. ET: Obama Discusses Case, Race In U.S.
Urging people not to use the decision as an excuse for violence, President Obama called forthose who disagree with the Missouri grand jury’s decision to work constructively.
“There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed — even angry,” Obama said of the outcome. “It’s an understandable reaction.”
— Austin Keller (@austinkeller) November 25, 2014
Update at 9:53 p.m. ET: ACLU, Amnesty Reactions
Of the jury’s decision, Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, says in part:
“The grand jury’s decision does not negate the fact that Michael Brown’s tragic death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters. Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable. While many officers carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement.”
Amnesty International says it will work toward protecting the rights of demonstrators in Ferguson.
“Following today’s announcement, there cannot be a repeat of the abuses that occurred in the policing of protests in August,” the group’s USA executive director, Steven W. Hawkins, says, “and the current state of emergency must not be used to violate human rights by any level of law enforcement. Officers are duty-bound to facilitate the right to peaceful protest, not impede it.”
Update at 9:43 p.m. ET: Physical Evidence And Conflicting Accounts
Having announced the jury’s decision, McCulloch stressed the importance of physical evidence in the case. He then ran down a long list of various witness accounts in which people gave different versions of the events that transpired after Wilson and Brown began the encounter that left Brown dead in the street.
And McCulloch said that seemingly by happenstance, a person in a building nearby had recorded audio of the final 10 shots Wilson fired.
He eventually returned to the tragedy of the case at hand, saying, “No young man should ever die.”
McCulloch went on to say that the case brings an opportunity to address old wounds that have been reopened.
“I join with Michael Brown’s family, and with the clergy” and others, he said, “in urging everyone to continue the demonstrations” and call for constructive change.
Update at 9:24 p.m. ET: Grand Jury Does Not Indict Wilson
The grand jury found that “no probable cause exists” to file any indictments against Wilson, McCulloch said.
Earlier, the prosecutor said, “There is no question, of course, that Darren Wilson caused the death of Michael Brown.” He then discussed areas of the law that might apply to the case, such as self-defense.