Ferguson Officer Will Not Be Charged in Teen's Shooting Death
St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch (photo courtesy Fox News)
A federal grand jury has decided that Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.
The announcement came Monday night by St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, just hours after Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called for peace once the announcement was made.
McCulloch said the grand jury was presented with all of the evidence in the case. He said the grand jury "heard more than 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses and reviewed hours of recordings of media and law enforcement interviews by many of the witnesses who testified."
McCulloch said the grand jury determined that no probable cause existed to file any charges against Wilson.
"The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction," McCulloch said. "They are the only people who have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence. They discussed and debated the evidence among themselves before arriving at their collective decision."
Michael Brown's family issued the following statement after the announcement was made:
"We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequences 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 respectfually 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."
President Obama spoke at the White House following McCulloch's press conference saying the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges we face as a nation. "It's going to be very important to make sure that we focus on Michael Brown's parents and the clergy and the community leaders and the civil rights leaders and the activists and law enforcement officials who have been working very hard to try to find better solutions, long-term solutions, to this issue."
Governor Nixon said earlier in the evening he did not know what the grand jury's decision was. "Our shared hope and expectation is that regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint."
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay also addressed the media Monday. "My message to the protesters: we will protect your right to peacefully assemble and to speak your mind. We will listen your grievances but turning violent or damaging property will not be tolerated."
More violence erupted after the announcement with police firing tear gas into the streets. There were reports of gun shots being fired and looting taking place. A police car and nearby building were both set on fire as well.