Officer Darren Wilson’s testimony was made public after the grand jury decided on no indictment for Wilson in 18-year-old Michael Brown’s death.
Evidence in the Ferguson case was released in full including court documents, injury photographs and transcripts. From August to November, the grand jury held 23 meetings. The Crime Laboratory Analysis Report revealed blood was wiped from the weapon before analysis had begun, implicating Wilson’s claim to having shot Brown in the front from an eight to 10 foot range.
Some eye witnesses claimed they saw Brown charging at Wilson and other claims were made of Brown surrendering by holding his hands in the air while being fatally shot. Witnesses Piaget Crenshaw and Tiffany Mitchell shared a video of Michael Brown’s body lying in the street after being shot by Officer Wilson that sparked public concern in August. Wilson’s testimony was taken into careful consideration by the grand jury, including detailed evidence such as:
- Wilson had never shot a firearm while on duty before the altercation with Brown.
- Wilson said the area he was patrolling had a dangerous reputation.
- Wilson’s intentions were to arrest Brown, but Brown resisted and became violent.
- Wilson claimed him and Brown struggled over control of the gun.
- Wilson’s other available option was mace because he did not like carrying a stun gun.
- Wilson shot 12 times at Brown, 6 of them hit an unarmed Brown.
- The photographs of Wilson’s injuries showed minor bruising.
Michael Brown’s family attorney, Attorney Benjamin Crump, released a statement saying, “We keep seeing our children killed by the people who are supposed to protect and serve them, and there are no consequences when they’re killed.”
A friend of Darren Wilson who chose to remain unnamed, spoke to CNN’s New Day on Tuesday morning when she stated, “I choose to respect his privacy, when he is ready to speak he will speak for himself.” When asked if the verdict was a relief she added, “Absolutely, for all of us, not just law enforcement, but for citizens of the community. He has to worry everyday about his brothers and sisters in blue getting hurt.”
The residents of South Florida are all too familiar with such a situation and reminisce on 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s death last July. Martin’s mother, Sabrina Fulton, spoke with 7News advising the nation against violence prior to the grand jury’s decision. “I don’t think this is the time to tear down and tear up your community,” Fulton said. “I think we need to, whatever decision is made, we need to move forward from whatever decision that is.”
Despite Pres. Obama’s public statement urging a rally without violence backed up by Brown’s family’s statements calling for non-violent protests, the stigma of law enforcement racially profiling African-Americans proved very much alive as infuriated protesters looted the town of Ferguson, Mo. on Monday night. Following the grand jury’s decision, Ferguson protesters reacted by setting a police car on fire, stores were burned and vandalized and shots were fired. Police were urged to show restraint, as they threw smoke bombs into the crowds and used pepper spray in retaliation to shots being fired directly at them.
In total, 25 buildings were burned and continued to be vandalized on Tuesday. Natalie’s Cakes and More, a bakery unfortunate enough to be included in those businesses damaged on Monday night, opened for business the next day. In a phone conversation with CNN Money, Natalie Dubose was heard sweeping broken glass and expressing a ‘carry-on’ attitude. “I am a single mom, a mother of two. This is everything that I own. I can’t walk away from it. I just got to start up and start baking again,” Dubose said.
Buildings were left to burn over night as heavy ammunition overwhelmed law enforcement. According to CNN reports, St. Louis Police have made around 60 arrests in regards to criminal activity. Ferguson Market & Liquor, the store where Brown had allegedly stolen cigars from before his death, was also damaged. Protests in areas such as New York and Los Angeles were described to be as peaceful.
In an effort to maintain public, law and government officials’ safety, Gov. Jay Nixon stated that 2,000 National Guards would be patrolling Ferguson, in comparison to the 500 guards involved in Monday night’s riots.“Violence like we saw last night cannot be repeated. Extra troops were needed to ensure people and property will be protected,” said Nixon.
Pres. Obama said there is a need to recognize there are broader challenges the nation is facing and assured that both Democratic and Republican parties want criminal justice reform.
What measures must be taken are still up for question, as the law of the land and serving justice continues to create further divisions and frustrations among communities.