The Short of It
A grand jury did not indict Darren Wilson, the police officer responsible for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., for any crimes. Wilson shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9. The incident has prompted conversations about racism and civil rights around the country.
Here are five things you should know about the Ferguson grand jury decision:
1. Darren Wilson was not indicted by the grand jury.
After sifting through hours of testimony and thousands of pages of documents, a grand jury decided that there was not enough probable cause to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. After announcing the jury's decision, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch promised to release a package of documents, including audio and photos, from the grand jury's review of the case.
2. Obama reacts to decision.
"There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed—even angry," Obama said.
Obama quoted Michael Brown Sr. in which he said that he didn't want his son's death to be in vain but instead to lead to positive change that makes life better for everyone.
The president also asked law enforcement in the area to "show care and restraint in managing peaceful protests that may occur."
"We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for Ferguson; this is an issue for America," Obama said.
3. Violence broke out in Ferguson in reaction to the verdict.
Public reaction was swift and mixed. There were reports of police using smoke to disperse crowds in some areas. In other areas, protesters marched peacefully. Near where Michael Brown was killed, police officers were hit with rocks, bottles and batteries, and a patrol car was set on fire.
4. There are protests across the country.
In Oakland, Calif. several hundred people holding signs that read, "The People Say Guilty!" took to the streets and shut down a major highway and several streets to protest the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson.
Dozens of people got past police and ran onto the westbound lanes of Interstate 580, walking between traffic, holding signs and raising their hands in the air. Officers in cars and on motorcycles corralled the protesters until they cleared the freeway and opened one lane to traffic an hour later. A few minutes later though, a large crowd jumped onto the eastbound lanes of I-580 and brought traffic to a halt once more. Numerous people were arrested for blocking the freeway.
5. What's next?
Civil rights lawyers at the Justice Department are working alongside FBI agents to examine whether Wilson intentionally violated Brown's civil rights. Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal investigation is ongoing and independent of St. Louis prosecutors.
The Ferguson situation is not resolved, not by a long shot. There is more to come, including the opportunity to read the available court documents.
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