Grand Jury Declines to Indict Ferguson Killer Cop

A St. Louis County grand jury has declined to indict Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown.


Prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch spent several minutes citing inconsistencies in the testimony of some of the 60 witnesses that testified during 70 hours of proceedings. He also blamed the “24-hour news cycle” and social media before announcing the no bill returned by the grand jury.

McCulloch said that the grand jury, made up of nine whites and three Blacks, was a representative cross-section of the demographics of St. Louis County and that they were “the only people who heard every witness … and every piece of evidence.” St. Louis County as a whole has a population that is 24 percent Black.

Wilson fired 12 total shots10 outside his vehicle and two insideduring the confrontation, according to McCulloch. The final 10 shots were captured by a witness in an audio recording. The grand jury decided that all 12 shots were justified.

McCulloch said that the grand jury was asked to consider five different charges ranging from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter, but found that no probable cause existed to sustain any of the charges. All 12 grand jurors were presented for every session, he added.

“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions,” Brown’s family said in a statement, before pleading for protestors to assemble peacefully. “Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.”

Wilson’s defense lawyers also responded to the grand jury’s decision.

“Law enforcement personnel must frequently make split-second and difficult decisions. Officer Wilson followed his training and followed the law,” the defense team said in a statement. “We recognize that many people will want to second-guess the grand jury’s decision. We would encourage anyone who wants to express an opinion do so in a respectful and peaceful manner.”

President Obama addressed the nation just minutes after McCulloch’s press conference wrapped up.

“We are a nation built on the rule of law,” the president said. “So we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make.”

“We do have work to do here,” the president added. “We shouldn’t just paper it over.”

He also asked for protestors to remain peaceful and asked the nation to focus on Michael Brown’s parents and the long-term positive, solutions and progress that can come from Brown’s death and the conversations it ignites.

Protesters had called for Wilson’s arrest since he shot and killed Brown on a Ferguson street on Aug. 9. The mismanagement of the investigation by Wilson’s colleagues and city leaders began immediately, as Brown’s body was left laying uncovered in the sun for hours as authorities began looking at evidence.

Soon, authorities were hiding Wilson’s identity, but sharing information that Brown was a suspect in a convenience-store robbery that took place just minutes before the confrontation between Wilson and Brown. What they failed to disclose initially was that Wilson did not know Brown was a suspect, and the confrontation took place only because Brown and a friend were walking in the street.

An autopsy showed he had been shot at least six times, including two wounds to the head.

Tensions rose quickly and protests escalated as Ferguson and St. Louis County police turned out in militaristic riot gear and positioned high-powered rifles atop armored personnel carriers, pointing them into the crowds. Dozens were arrested, including professor Cornel West.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles claimed there is no racial divide in the city, despite the obvious mistrust between the almost entirely white police department and the city’s majority Black population. Or the white St. Louis Cardinals fans (and others influenced by the Koch Brothers’ publicity machine) mocking Black Ferguson protestors. Or the aggression of police and national-guard troops and the way Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnsonone of the few Black men amongst the authorities patrolling Fergusonwas able to calm the crowds and change the attitude of the gatherings.

Racial divide or not, what happened in Ferguson represents a complete breakdown in diversity management.

Consider these racial breakdowns in Ferguson:

BlacksWhites
Percentage of Statewide Population10.9%82.8%
Percentage of Ferguson Population63.0%33.7%
Percentage of Ferguson Police Department6.0%93.0%
Percentage of Ferguson City Council7.0%93.0%
# of Members on Ferguson School Board0/76/7
Traffic Stops4,632686
Searches56247
Search Rate12.13% of traffic stops6.85% of traffic stops
Contraband Hit Rate21.71% of searches34.04% of searches
Disparity Index*1.370.38

*Disparity Index = proportion of stops/proportion of population. A disparity index of 1 indicates no disparity exists. An index above 1 means a demographic is stopped at a greater rate than its proportion of the population, while an index below 1 means a demographic is stopped at a lesser rate than its proportion of the population.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released a poorly designed, half-hearted videotape apology, claiming he was “truly sorry” for the Brown family and the protesters. But his St. Louis County police counterpart, Chief John Belmar, said he did not regret using tear gas and pointing high-powered rifles from atop armored trucks at protesters.

The Justice Department announced it was going to investigate the police practices in Ferguson, as well as expand its civil-rights investigation into Brown’s shooting death.

But as leaks emerged from the grand juryleaks that left Attorney General Eric Holder incensed and that included Wilson’s own personal testimonyand concerns about prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s motives and impartiality grew, Ferguson police spent more than $100,000 on new riot gear and tear gas in anticipation of escalating protests.

“If there is not an indictment, excuse my French, all hell is going to break loose,” one protester told CNN.

A coalition of local organizations asked for 36 hours’ notice of the grand jury’s decision to prepare and staff safe houses, where protesters could eat and receive medical attention. They asked officers to avoid using armored vehicles, tear gas and rubber bullets, and to only don riot gear as a last resort.

“There is going to be agitation and demonstration. It’s just a matter of what kind,” said Michael McPhearson, co-chair of the Don’t Shoot Coalition. “We aren’t trying to quiet people’s anger. We are just trying to direct it in a positive direction.”

School superintendents asked for the decision to be announced after 5 p.m. or on a weekend, due to safety concerns for students trying to get home from school.

“It’s a high-stress, low-trust environment,” said Johnetta Elzie, 25, one of the most visible and vocal protesters. “We are living day to day waiting on this announcement.”

But officials scoffed at many of the requests. Ed Magee, McCulloch’s spokesman, said prosecutors would inform police once the grand jury had reached a decision, but other advance-notice requests hadn’t been decided, nor had the timing for the manner of announcing the decision.

The Ferguson police, meanwhile, invested $65,000 in fresh riot gear, including body armor, helmets, shields and batons. Another $37,000 was spent on tear gas and smoke-and-gas grenades, pepper balls and plastic handcuffs.

Latest News

degeneres, work, show

Leadership Lessons to be Gleaned from Ellen DeGeneres’ Toxic Workplace Scandal

Ellen DeGeneres began her daytime talk show’s 18th season with an apology after a summer of allegations against her that claimed her show promoted a toxic work environment rife with racism, sexual misconduct and other mistreatment. In August 2020, three senior producers — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman…

COVID entrepreneur

Explosive New Growth in Small Businesses Due to COVID-19; America’s Police Force is Not Becoming More Diverse Despite BLM Movement; the Best and Worst Performing States in the 2020 Census; and More

Even with incredible nationwide unemployment rates, the creation of new small and diverse businesses has exploded due to COVID-19. Finally some news coming out of our pandemic: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that as bars and restaurants closed and stay-at-home orders were put into place earlier in 2020 to help fight…

Justice for Breonna not served; The essential rule of politics; Teen serves two months in jail for not doing homework; and More

Justice for Breonna not served as grand jury indicted officer who shot her with wanton endangerment — but not murder. “Outrageous and offensive.” Those were  by attorney to the family, Ben Crump to describe the grand jury’s decision in the March 13 fatal police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. While…

IBM, EEOC, age

EEOC Unearths Years of Intentional Age Discrimination within IBM

After a long investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revealed that IBM leaders had directed managers to replace older workers with younger ones. Between 2013 and 2018, nearly 86% of those considered for layoffs within the organization were older employees over the age of 40. The investigation showed…

Breathe March in Globe Park, New York, USA - 12 Sep 2020

Cities under attack from the Justice Department; Louisville bracing for the Breonna Taylor murder charge; Twitter reveals its racist side; and More

Justice department attacks three U.S. cities, declaring them anarchist zones — despite most of the protests that took place in each city being peaceful marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In a move designed to pull federal funding from New York City, Seattle and Portland, OR, the…

ginsburg, supreme, court

The Lasting Legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Plus the Four Biggest Issues Currently at Stake Following Her Death

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the nation’s highest court for 27 years, passed away Friday, Sept. 18 at the age 87. “As the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed…

Abbott Receives CE Mark for Next-Generation Mitraclip Heart Valve Repair Device to Treat Mitral

Originally posted on Abbott.com – CE Mark for MitraClip G4 offers physicians an innovative next-generation system with more options for mitral valve repair using proven clip-based technology – MitraClip is a first-of-its-kind transcatheter mitral valve therapy, now on its fourth generation, improving further on MitraClip’s history as a safe and…