The federal grand jury considering whether or not to indict Ferguson, Missouri Police officer Darren Wilson has announced its verdict: Wilson will not be indicted for the shooting of unarmed black teenager Mike Brown on August 9, CNN is reporting.
The grand jury had to consider conflicting versions of what exactly happened that day in August. What is known for certain is that Brown was unarmed when he was shot dead by Wilson; beyond that, the facts are in dispute. Several leaks from the grand jury proceedings have suggested that Brown was the aggressor, attempting to grab Wilson’s gun from him while the two men struggled inside a Ferguson Police SUV, according to Daily Kos. However, different accounts, as well as an investigation by Daily Kos, suggest that Brown was over a hundred feet away when Wilson shot him — a claim Brown’s family believes.
The grand jury also had to decide which crime — or no crime — Wilson should be charged with. Possible charges included first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and involuntarily manslaughter, according to CNN. Further, the grand jury, had they chosen to indict, could have added an additional charge of armed criminal action.
After Brown’s shooting, Ferguson became the scene of weeks-long protests, some of them violent. The police response to the Ferguson protests — which included tear gas and rubber bullets being fired into the crowds, armed military assault vehicles being deployed on the city streets, and a no-fly zone intended to cause a media blackout — ignited a national debate about the nation’s militarized police force.
The grand jury decision comes as Ferguson, a mostly black suburb of St. Louis, as well as several other cities around the country, have been preparing for violence in the wake of the grand jury’s decision, particularly if the jury decided not to indict, as it did today. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had already activated the National Guard, and declared a state of emergency in Missouri, in advance of the grand jury’s decision, according to this Inquisitr report.
As for Officer Wilson: now that the grand jury has decided not to indict him, he is a free man. It is likely, however, that his career as a police officer is over. In the days leading up to the grand jury decision, he was alleged to have been in talks to turn in his badge and resign from the police force. He has also reportedly been in talks with network news anchors to discuss his side of the story after the grand jury decision.
In the coming hours and days, the eyes of the world will be on Ferguson to see if the city is the site of peaceful protests, or if it descends into violence, as well as how the police respond.
Do you believe the Ferguson grand jury made the right decision?
[Image courtesy of: Hollywood Life]