St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced tonight that police officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
In a live statement, McCulloch said that the grand jury, which has been meeting since August 20, scrutinized the evidence and witness testimony.
However, McCulloch said, the jury had to take into consideration the conflicting statements that witnesses has provided. McCulloch said that there was no question that Wilson caused the death of Brown; however, he said, physical evidence does not change because of personal agenda.
The unarmed 18-year-old was fatally shot by Wilson on August 9, igniting impassioned protests across the nation. Speculation still surrounds the details of that August day, though autopsies confirm that Brown was shot six times, including once in the head. Though Wilson claims that he fired because he feared for his life after Brown reached for his gun, Brown’s friend and witness Dorian Johnson says Brown was cooperating, running from Wilson with his hands up and shouting that he was unarmed.
The jury’s decision comes after a tense three months of civic unrest in Ferguson and other cities across the nation. Demonstrations—and subsequent arrests—continued this week after Missouri governor Jay Nixon issued a preemptive state of emergency on Monday, November 17 in preparation for the verdict. Schools were closed in the Ferguson-Florissant School District today and will be closed tomorrow as well. The FBI has sent 100 agents to the area.
Michael Brown Sr., the slain teen’s father, released a video last Thursday asking that the people of Ferguson remain peaceful in the wake of the decision. Brown’s family also requested that supporters observe 4.5 minutes of silence after the verdict, regardless of outcome.
Brown’s family released the following statement immediately after the decision was announced.
“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.”