CLAY CENTER (KSNT/AP) – A Grand Jury decided Monday not to indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown August 9th.
One hundred and eight days after the shooting, and after two days of deliberations the jurors found “No True Bill”, deciding there was not sufficient evidence for officer Darren Wilson to stand trial for the shooting.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, in a late evening news conference, said “These jurors are the only, the only, people to hear from all the witnesses and look at the evidence.”
The grand jury of nine whites and three blacks had been meeting weekly since Aug. 20 to consider evidence.
At least nine votes would have been required to indict Wilson.
The Justice Department is conducting an investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges.
Brown’s Aug. 9 death sparked more than a week of unrest that included angry clashes between police and protesters and led Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to briefly summon the National Guard.
“They listened to more than 70 hours of witness testimony, to three medical examiners, looked at hundreds of photos, countless hours of media interviews with officers and others and examined the evidence,” he stated.
The jurors had been given the case for deliberation last Friday and had five potential criminal charges to consider ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first degree murder. They found none of the criminal charges applied.
“They had to consider,” said McCulloch “whether officer Wilson was the initial aggressor or was an authorized officer who is allowed to use deadly force in the pursuit of his job or was acting in defense of his own life.”
After the announcement, Wilson’s defense team reached a statement, which included the following:
“From the outset we have maintained, and the grand jury agreed that Officer Wilson’s actions on August 9th were in accordance with the laws and regulations that govern the procedures of an officer. We realize that many people will want to second-guess the grand jury’s decision. We would encourage anyone who wants to express an opinion to do so in a respectful and peaceful manner.”
Brown’s family is expected Tuesday, but they issued this statement immediately following the verdict:
“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence 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 respectfully 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 Barack Obama says he joins with Michael Brown’s family in urging peaceful protests after a grand jury decided not to indict the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed the unarmed, black 18-year-old.
Obama made the comments Monday moments after official word of the grand jury’s decision.
The president said first and foremost the nation is built on the rule of law. He said despite anger and intense disagreement on either side, Americans need to accept the decision that the grand jury made.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.