22 August 2019
A police car burns on the street after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday. Photo: Reuters
A police car burns on the street after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday. Photo: Reuters

Violence greets Ferguson jury decision on Brown shooting

Violence flared again in Ferguson in the US state of Missouri, with gunshots heard and tear gas fired, after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in August, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Angry crowds took to the streets around the Ferguson police department after the grand jury determined there was no probable cause to charge officer Darren Wilson with any crime for the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Police in the St. Louis suburb reported heavy automatic gunfire late on Monday in the area near where Brown was shot and killed on Aug. 9. The Federal Aviation Administration issued temporary flight restrictions for the city.

Protests were also staged in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Oakland over a case that has highlighted long-standing racial tensions not just in predominantly black Ferguson but across the United States, the news agency said.

“They determined that no probable cause exists to file any charge against officer Wilson,” St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch told reporters in Clayton, Missouri, the St. Louis suburb where the grand jury met.

Wilson could have faced charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder, McCulloch said.

Storefront windows were smashed near the Ferguson Police Department, and at least one police cruiser and another vehicle on the street were set on fire. Gunshots were heard and police responded with volleys of tear gas and flash-bang canisters.

Brown’s family said through their attorneys they were “profoundly disappointed” by the grand jury’s finding.

“While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change,” the family said in a statement.

Attorneys for Wilson, who has avoided the spotlight since the shooting, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Barack Obama called for protesters to remain peaceful and for police to show restraint.

“We are a nation built on the rule of law and so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make,” Obama said in a televised news conference. “We need to recognize that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation. The fact remains that in too many parts of this country a deep distrust exists between police and communities of color.”

Ahead of the news, a crowd of several hundred people gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department, and many began to scream angrily as word of the grand jury’s decision spread.

“Murderers, you’re nothing but murderers,” one woman shouted through a megaphone at officers clad in riot gear. “Stinking murderers.”

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