Protesters began to gather on the streets around the greater St Louis area on November 24, ahead of the decision of a jury on whether or not a white police officer should face charges over his shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Black youth Michael Brown in August.
St Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCollough announced that the grand jury had determined that officer Darren Wilson would not face charges for killing Brown.
Just after 8pm local time, McCulloch said the jury had found “no probable cause exists to file any charge against … Wilson”.
He insisted argued the evidence was thorough and the jury should be trusted. "Our only goal was that our investigation would be thorough and complete ... to give the grand jury and ultimately the public all the evidence," he said.
McCulloch detailed the several autopsies performed, analyses conducted, and evidence reviewed. He questioned witnesses' claims that Brown was shot in the back.
"The most significant challenge to this investigation has been ... the 24 hour news reporting ... lack of correct information surrounding the shooting," McCulloch claimed.
"The law authorises an officer to use deadly force in certain situations, and people to use deadly force in self defense ... and the jury has considered if this happened in the case of Michael Brown," he said, concluding the jury had found this was indeed the case.
McCulloch argued: "The jury are the only people who have examined every piece of evidence," suggesting that any verdict is fair -- and the public is not capable of forming their own opinion.
At no point in his announcement did he mention historical and social context for police killings of African Americans, nor the US´s long history of police impunty, especially where racial murder is concerned.
McCulloch concluded by urging protesters to be “peaceful”, failing to note that police have violently attack people protesting to demand justice for Brown.
Earlier, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called for calm, saying that "regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint".
Authorities stepped up security at the downtown courthouse in the St Louis County seat of Clayton prior to the verdict. Barricades were erected around the building and more than 20 state agents were seen silently assembling with rifles, three-foot batons, riot shields and other equipment.
Some nearby shops and many businesses boarded up their windows, and some schools cancelled activities.
Several eyewitnesses say Brown had surrendered with his hands raised after fleeing a confrontation near the officer's patrol vehicle. An autopsy ordered by the family revealed the teen was shot six times by Wilson.
The incident sparked widespread protests across the country, including violent clashes between police and protesters.
Tensions have been mounting in Ferguson in the lead up to the verdict, with Nixon declaring a state of emergency in the suburb in the lead-up to the grand jury decision.
You can watch a live stream from the streets of Ferguson here.]
[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]