Anger, sadness over Ferguson decision
This story has been updated.
Michael Brown was 18, unarmed and days away from starting college when he was shot multiple times by a police officer in Ferguson, Missou., on Aug. 9.
The shooting death of the black teenager by a white police officer touched off weeks of unrest and protest in Ferguson and around the nation. On Nov. 24, it was announced that Grand Jury won’t indict Police Officer Darren Wilson. The Grand Jury heard testimony that the shooting occurred after Wilson stopped Brown, who he believed was the suspect in a convenience store robbery. According to the testimony, Wilson and Brown got into an altercation and Brown allegedly struck the police officer.
Wilson chased after Brown after he ran. What happened next isn’t clear, but it lead to Brown being shot six times. To read the full account, provided by a reporter for Talking Points Memo, click here.
In the Atlanta metro area, police braced for an uproar but there were no reported incidents in response to Ferguson. Elected leaders did speak out about the issue.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis made his statements via Twitter.
I know this hard. I know this is difficult. Do not succumb to the temptations of violence. There is a more powerful way. #FergusonDecision
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) November 25, 2014
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed released this statement:
ATLANTA – This evening, a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri has decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown. This announcement is likely to spark understandable feelings of frustration, not only in Ferguson, but across the country. However, while many are saddened and angered by the grand jury’s decision, I urge everyone taking part in demonstrations to do so in a peaceful manner. I support the efforts of local leaders to promote non-violent expression by self-policing and elevating the voices of community members. Equally important, I believe we should respect the wishes of Michael Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., that all protests be conducted in a way that honors his son’s memory, rather than distract from it. It is also essential that all local, state, and federal law enforcement officials show proper restraint and respect every citizen’s constitutional right to assemble. Atlanta’s history demonstrates that we can come together and protest in a non-violent and peaceful fashion. Going forward, I encourage the United States Department of Justice to conduct a complete review of how Michael Brown’s killing has been handled thus far. Both the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened civil rights investigations, and I look forward to the release of their findings. Finally, let’s not forget what this case is really about. It’s about the deep pain and sorrow that a mother and father have lived through since their son was killed more than three months ago. We must view this case, not just through our own eyes, but through the eyes of parents who lost a child. While this decision does not do justice to Michael Brown and his family, it serves as an opportunity for Atlanta, and the rest of the nation, to engage in a thoughtful conversation on how to build greater trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.– Kasim Reed, Mayor
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson also weighed in:
“I am shocked, and along with many others, outraged by the process of the grand jury consideration of the killing of Michael Brown, and the decision reached by the grand jury to not indict this officer. These are trying times, and people have a right to protest what we see as an injustice. Protests should be expected, but I urge protesters to remain peaceful. Death, personal injury or property destruction will not right the injustice, nor will it bring Michael Brown back to life. So let’s be smart, and let’s handle this through the strategy of non-violence. I also urge law enforcement to exercise restraint and to not meet peaceful protesters with a militarized show of force like what we saw in August. Such a display will only inflame protesters and provoke a violent response.”
Locally, reactions poured in over Twitter throughout the evening.
Reading #Ferguson tweets from white journalists, political figures, and Darren Wilson supporters is truly heartbreaking.
— Baè La Soul (@SirajKhalif) November 25, 2014