St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced on Monday night that a grand jury decided there was no probable cause for indicting Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown, NBC News reported.
The fatal shooting on Aug. 9 was the flashpoint for demonstrations both in the community, located near St. Louis, and around the country. Wilson quickly went into hiding and was not arrested following the incident, which critics said exemplified the normalization of police violence against community of color.
This story has been updated. Please see below.
Protesters massed for hours in Ferguson and other cities in the hours immediately preceding the decision. Brown’s parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Leslie McSpadden, asked demonstrators to observe 4.5 minutes of silence immediately following the decision, symbolizing the 4.5 hours their son’s body was left on the street by police following his death.
In the 108 days since the shooting, Gov. Jay Nixon’s (D) administration and other local authorities have also been criticized for heavy-handed treatment of both protesters and reporters. McCullough was accused of not pursuing a case against Wilson, arguing that, as a relative of police officers, he was not an impartial prosecutor.
Update, 9:31 p.m.: The Washington Post posted a statement from Brown’s family online encouraging protesters to remain calm while calling for officers around the country to be required to wear body cameras while on duty.
“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions,” the statement read. “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.”
Update, 9:43 p.m. EST: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Missouri released a statement criticizing the grand jury’s decision.
“The grand jury’s decision does not negate the fact that Michael Brown’s tragic death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters,” ACLU Missouri head Jeffrey Mittman said. “Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable. While many officers carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement.”