Ferguson Reacts: Officer Who Shot Michael Brown Won't Face Charges

After months of protest, grand jury decides not to indict Officer Darren Wilson.

A woman approaches the barricade to confront the police outside the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday night, after a St. Louis County grand jury chose not to indict Ferguson policeman Darren Wilson. (Photo: Adrees Latif/Reuters)

Nov 24, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Shaya Tayefe Mohajer is TakePart's News Editor.

Amid calls for "peace, respect, and restraint" from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, crowds clamored for justice in the streets of Ferguson on Monday night, with many demanding the indictment of the officer who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown this summer.

The grand jury, made up of nine whites and three blacks, had decided not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the racially charged case, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch said on Monday night.

"The law authorizes a law enforcement officer to use deadly force to defend themselves in certain situations," McCulloch said after detailing the work of the grand jury, which examined physical evidence and heard more than 70 hours of testimony from witnesses and experts.

President Barack Obama held a news conference soon after the announcement to urge calm, and crowds in Ferguson were given dispersal orders. But soon, chaos broke out: Rocks and bottles were thrown, windows were smashed, cars were vandalized, and tear gas was fired on protesters.

Since the black 18-year-old was shot at least six times on Aug. 9, Ferguson has repeatedly erupted in heated protests that have pitted the local black community and their supporters against the mostly white police force.

The National Guard has returned to Ferguson after a four-day stint that began on Aug. 18 and was mostly limited to protecting local police. The crowd clashed openly with officers.

Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, could not hide her anguish—CNN reported that she was escorted away from the scene after the decision came down.

In a livestream of protests in Ferguson, activists marched in the streets and chanted, "This is what democracy looks like," "No justice! No peace!" and the chant that became central to the earlier protests, "Hands up! Don't shoot!"

Protests drew hundreds of activists in cities across the country, including Chicago, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, and Oakland, Calif. The grand jury's decision didn't surprise 41-year-old community organizer Yusef Shakur, who left Ferguson Monday after a week of working with protesters there.

"As a black man in America, that's the history," said Shakur in a phone call from Detroit.

"I have no faith in America when it comes to America policing itself in relationship to black me," Shakur said.