Final Decision in Ferguson: Public Concern Didn't Sway Jury
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Politics and Activism

Final Decision in Ferguson: Public Concern Didn't Sway Jury

Officer Darren Wilson not indicted by grand jury

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Final Decision in Ferguson: Public Concern Didn't Sway Jury
Reuters

After just over three months of deliberation, twelve members of a grand jury have come to a verdict in the Ferguson police case. On August 9, 18 year old Michael Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson. Since then, riots and looting have plagued the city and the entire country has focused in on a tiny town in Missouri as the case has raised significant questions about race in 2014, police brutality, and the place social media and the 24-hour news cycle play in today's era of reporting. 

Tonight, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch delivered the news that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted on any of the five counts he was charged with, citing that the jury found no probable cause. Since this was decided by a grand jury, the recordings and transcripts could be released soon, as a St. Louis circuit court judge, Carolyn C. Whittington, has already agreed to do so. During his testimony, he recounted the story from beginning to end as well as discussing the grand jury's events over the past three months. Over 25 days, the jury of 12 randomly selected citizens, six white men, three white women, two black women and one black man, heard 60 witnesses give 70 hours of testimony. The five charges ranged from involuntary manslaughter to first degree murder. After two days of deliberation, they came to a conclusion.

While prosecutor McCulloch has not been without controversy himself - his father, a police officer, was shot and killed by a black man in the line of duty, he was able to deliver a nonpartisan testimony. During the press conference, he reminded us that the grand jurors are "the only people who have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence", and that "decisions in the criminal justice system must be determined by physical and scientific evidence and not in response to public outcry". He also blamed the role that the "insatiable appetite" of the media and social media played in this case. Noting examples of rumors that were wholly inconsistent with the autopsies, he reminded all of us that the justice system is there for a reason - to weed out the rumors, uninformed tweets, and spun-out stories to find the factual, physical evidence that ensures the guilty are punished and the innocent walk free. 

Regardless of how you feel about the decision tonight, there must be change. Police must be able to defend themselves when their lives feel threatened, but citizens must be able retaliate and not be at the mercy of an armed officer. Gun violence in America can no longer be ignored and we as a nation must do something to prevent another Ferguson.

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