After months of protests, rallies, nation-wide debates and global response, the grand jury regarding the Ferguson case of Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown has announced a decision:
In other words, not guilty. The jury’s decision is not an unexpected one, however it is the most disappointing for many across the U.S. and the rest of the world. People waited to hear updates for hours in the streets of Ferguson and all over the United States.
“Almost all witness interviews…were presented to the grand jury before the autopsy was released…Juries were able access the credibility of all witnesses… The grand jury worked tirelessly to examine and re-examine all witness interviews… They determined there was no probable cause.” Robert McCullough, St. Louis County Prosecuter said in justification of the grand jury’s decision. At the end of his speech, McCullough says that the discussions being had by individuals regarding injustice and race in the country are allowed and encouraged, but need to be done in a “constructive manner”.
Despite all he recent updates, there is a number of things stated by McCullough that suggest a different picture than what the public has believed. McCullough claimed that Brown “charged” at the officer before being shot. Once those protesting heard the decision, tears of frustration and harsh words against those police lining the roads were captured on video. Many stood together in solidarity, turning off their radios as McCullough continued to speak on the rationale regarding the jury’s decision.
Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr.parents of Michael Brown, Jr. released a statement after the decision was announced:
“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.
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.
Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.
We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.
Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.”
Tensions rose throughout the country the longer the grand jury took to give their announcement, which led to unrest and further criticism of the small town’s handling of the case. Many voice their frustration via social media and many felt angered at the delay.
The decision was originally meant to be announced at 8 pm and as time dragged on, it was later revealed that the announcement would happen at 9 pm. However, it wasn’t until 9:15 pm
As the wait continued, people remained in the streets of Ferguson staring down police lines and blocking road ways. Talks of military and police personnel posing as protesters as well as barricades are some of the news that circulated in the hours before the verdict. Many sent messages through twitter in order to convey their thoughts and prayers being with those in Ferguson, and they reminded those in the town to remain peaceful in the face of a verdict they were all waiting to hear.
In the days leading to this verdict, citizens and police alike have been preparing themselves. The escalation of police and military presence in the town of Ferguson during peaceful protest was hint enough at the direction in which the trial and the government in the small town were headed.
According to CNN, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told reporters “The world will be watching us. They’re going to watch how we handle our disagreements in the coming days and how we make needed change in the coming months and years,”
The verdict was already predicted by many, both those who supported Darren Wilson and those who opposed him. Cases similar to this have all had similar outcomes and the reactions of the police and military in the area told many what they already suspected. That didn’t stop protesters all around the United States from rallying in their support of Michael Brown’s family and their call for justice.
National and Global Protests
The case of Michael brown and other young black boys that have been killed at the hands of others has been a topic of discussion and criticism throughout the United States. This case has been dragged along and the tension between those in Ferguson against the local government and police force was something no one could ignore.
Before the announced decision today, rallies all across the United States were underway, showing solidarity with Michael Brown’s family. Those who rallied in New York held signs saying “Black lives matter”, signifying the growing frustration in the black and non-white communities as the youth are gunned down and their families never find justice. Rallies in other major cities and other areas around the United States held similar sentiments as they awaited a decision that most had come to dreadfully expect.
Perceived injustice in one part of the world is a powerful thing that can be felt globally. The news of Michael Brown’s death and the cries for justice by those in Ferguson lead to a massive amount of support around the world.
According to CNN “Fifty-four percent of nonwhites — including blacks, Latinos and Asians — say Wilson should be charged with murder, while just 23% of whites agree. And 38% of whites say Wilson should be charged with no crime at all, while just 15% of nonwhites hold that position.”
The number of Black and Non-white children shot or criminalized by police has also been a key factor in the divide between perceptions in this country, but this case encompasses that and so much more.
This case has of course been a racially charged one in its image and perception. Yes, racism is a major issue in this country that can cause many to have mistrust for those of other racial or ethnic groups, but this case is also about America’s judicial system. This case is about a young boy, with no weapon being shot by an officer in broad daylight, after witnesses have all stated that the boy had both hands up in surrender. This speaks to the amount of power officers and the judicial system have that allows for them to take advantage of their positions of authority and walk away from tragedies like this without answering for the injustice posed.
Those who live in a world where their concerns, struggles, and deaths are viewed in such a time-tested, blase manner leads to further cries for justice. The fact that these peaceful cries have been met with tanks, military invention, and ridicule by the local officials and the media is another painful reality of life and perspective of a minority in America.
Just the Beginning
Expressions of outrage and solidarity continue on even after the grand jury’s decision. Michael Brown and other like him who have been killed by police or other individuals after having done nothing to incite their killings have become symbols for many. Michael Brown is the face of a growing shift in the way citizens relate to the police and others in positions of power.
The public have been using social media to not only update others, but to educate as well. Petitions for police to wear things like body cameras only go so far, but the use of media in order to capture and reveal acts of police or other individuals will also create a more transparent environment in which many would feel more secure.
Cries of injustice and an unbalanced judicial system have been heard time and time again, year after year. However, it seems that what occurred in Ferguson is something no one will soon forget. The future of this small Missouri town in the coming months is something to keep an eye on and furthermore, the reactions across the country and the world have potential to lead to a number of social issue and political discourses. Cases this monumental rarely end with the verdict.
What Do You Think?…
Do you agree or disagree with the verdict? Have you been following the Ferguson case, and if so how have you been keeping updated?