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Grand Jury Decision leads to Riots in Ferguson MO

ken barber

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I am posting this is news as I am not discussing the politcal aspect of it just "reporting" on the news.


I have trolled the new channels and websites looking for as much non-partisan information as possible in an attempt to give you the facts only.


 on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Brown, an 18-year-old man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a police officer. 


Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were walking down the middle of the street when Wilson drove up and ordered them to move to the sidewalk. Brown and Wilson struggled through the window of the police vehicle until Wilson's gun was fired, either intentionally or as a result of the struggle. Brown and Johnson then fled in different directions, with Wilson in pursuit of Brown. Wilson shot Brown six times, killing him. Witness reports differ as to whether and when Brown had his hands raised, and whether he was moving toward Wilson, when the final shots were fired.

The shooting sparked protests and unrest in Ferguson, in part due to the belief among many that Brown was surrendering, as well as longstanding racial tensions between the majority-black Ferguson community and the majority-white city government and police. Protests, both peaceful and violent, along with vandalism and looting, continued for more than a week, resulting in night curfews. The response of area police agencies in dealing with the protests received significant criticism from the media and politicians. There were concerns over insensitivity, tactics and a militarized response. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered local police organizations to cede much of their authority to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Mainly peaceful protests continued for several weeks.


A few days after the shooting, the Ferguson Police Department released a surveillance video of a convenience store robbery that occurred only minutes before the shooting. It showed Brown taking cigarillos and shoving a store employee who tried to prevent him from leaving. The timing of the video release received criticism from some media, the Brown family, and some public officials, who viewed the release as an attempt to impeach Brown. Others said the video was informative as to Brown's state of mind, with the shooting incident coming so shortly after the robbery. There was conflicting evidence as to whether Officer Wilson knew of Brown's involvement in the robbery.

The events surrounding the shooting were investigated by a county grand jury. It was announced on November 24, 2014, that the jury had decided not to indict Darren Wilson for his actions. The Department of Justice is reviewing Ferguson Police Department's internal investigations of use of force during the last four years.


Michael Brown Jr. (May 20, 1996 – August 9, 2014) was the son of Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. Brown graduated from Normandy High School in St. Louis eight days before his death, completing an alternative education program. His teachers said he was "a student who loomed large and didn't cause trouble", referring to him as a "gentle giant". At the time of his death, he was 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall and weighed 292 lb (132 kg).


Darren Dean Wilson (born May 14, 1986) was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He lives in Crestwood, Missouri, a city of 11,000 people about 18 miles (29 kilometers) southwest of Ferguson, and was 28 years old at the time of the shooting.

Wilson first worked as a police officer in the police department of Jennings, Missouri, later disbanded. Wilson had no disciplinary history with the department. After the Jennings police department was disbanded, Wilson took a job as a police officer in Ferguson. He was described by a Jennings coworker as an "average officer" who "didn't get into any trouble". Former Jennings Police Chief Robert Orr said that he hardly remembered Wilson and said "that must mean he never got in any trouble, because that’s when they usually came to me."


On August 20, a county grand jury started hearing evidence in the shooting of Brown and they will decide "whether a crime was committed and whether there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed it". The St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, said the state will finish presenting evidence to the grand jury "hopefully by the middle of October". If necessary, this grand jury can keep meeting until January 7, 2015. The prosecutor's office said that all the evidence in the case will eventually be made public if there is no indictment. However, this claim has been called into question by court administrator Paul Fox, who, on November 23, 2014, released a memorandum stating that he had been inaccurately quoted in a St. Louis-Post Dispatch article which ran the same day. According to Fox, Judge Carolyn Whittington, must analyze any records in the case before granting a motion to make them public, and this analysis cannot be conducted before the grand jury makes a final determination.


McCulloch had the authority to bypass the grand jury and take the case to trial, but he chose to present all the evidence to the grand jury, leaving to jurors the decision of what charges might be brought, if any. His spokesperson acknowledged that it is unusual that the prosecutor is not asking the grand jury to endorse a specific charge.[160]


On August 21, State Senator Jamilah Nasheed presented a petition with 70,000 signatures calling for McCulloch's recusal, based on the close relationship between McCulloch and the police department, as well as accusations that he didn't file charges when he should have against two undercover officers who shot and killed two unarmed black men in 2000, and other controversies.


Media reports characterized McCulloch as not impartial, as his father was a police officer killed in an incident with an African-American suspect, and his mother, brother, uncle, and cousin served with the St. Louis Police Department; Newsweek reported McCulloch's "long history of siding with the police."


If an indictment is to be issued, at least nine members of the 12-person grand jury panel must agree to it. They were impaneled in May 2014 a few months before the shooting and include three black members (one man and two women) and nine white members (six men and three women), which roughly corresponds to the racial makeup of St. Louis County. Requests for more information about the jurors were denied by the judge.


On September 16, Wilson testified before the grand jury for more than four hours, and according to sources with knowledge of the investigation Wilson was "cooperative". He was not obligated to testify.


On November 17, Governor Nixon declared a state of emergency and activated the Missouri National Guard prior to the grand jury decision.


On November 24, McCulloch reported in a 20 minute press conference that the grand jury reached a decision in the case and elected not to indict Wilson.


Following the grand jury announcement on November 24, 2014, stating that there would be no indictment of Officer Wilson, several Ferguson businesses were looted and fires were set by protestors


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This description pretty closely matches what I have heard and read about the incident. However, I was not aware that Wilson had testified before the grand jury. I find that a little odd. When I served on a grand jury here in Tennessee I was under the impression that a grand jury only hears the prosecutor's evidence.

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Jeikor, that is part of what has people a bit upset and scratching their heads. The DA in this case did not run or use the grand jury in the typical manner. As I understand it, the DA goes to the grand jury and say here is the case, here is the evidence and here is what we think he/she should be charged with, do you agree? That did not happen in this case, the DA gave them all the evidence, and a list of 5 possible decisions and left the grand jury to it. It was the grand jury, I think that asked Darren Wilson to testify. Which as you pointed out is very unusual in that he was the defendant in the case and the Grand Jury is suppose to be about the prosecutor's case, not the defense case. Very odd.


In the face of what is contrary to the normal process, I can see and understand why some people would be upset.

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Of course the Grand Jury can call witnesses to testify. However, how often have you heard of the defendant being allowed to testify in a Grand Jury? In those cases in which the defendant does testify, the prosecutor goes after him/her hardcore. Not in this case, where the DA acted or appeared more of a defense attorney than a DA. I have been doing some reading and watching various news sources, and there are current and former DA's who have some very serious problems with how the DA in this case handled the Grand Jury and presented the case. It is the process and now it deviated from the norm is what has a good number of people upset.

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I find that the American police have an reputation for beeing a litle triger hapy, shooting first and asking questions lather.

I find odd that a country so tecnologic advance do not make the police use less lethal wepons, like tasers.

Shooting six times on an unarmed man a litlle overkill.


Not excusing their actions but there have also been several instances of police being targeted with no provocation that might have some on edge.

Also some of the smaller police forces may not have the resources to provide less lethal alternatives.


It is becoming a growing problem and needs to be addressed in some fashion.... SOON!

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Shooting six times on an unarmed man a litlle overkill.


The number of shots doesn't matter.  Once the decision is made to shoot, you shoot to kill and you don't stop until the suspect is down.  And 'unarmed' is a hot-button word.  It's not quite valueless, but it's often used more for it's emotional impact than for any real import.  According to the officers report, the guy had already tried to take his gun once.  At that point, simply walking towards the officer could be considered justifiable 'threat'.



Also, 'less lethal' weapons like tazers are often overhyped.  Tazers can be just as lethal as guns, while suffering from the rather critical drawbacks like range or not being able to reliably stop someone when needed.

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