St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch announced Monday evening that police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown, leading to a series of protests in Ferguson, Mo., was not going to be charged with the murder of Brown.
CNN broadcast the announcement that the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson due to a lack of probable cause. During the press conference, McCulloch gave detailed accounts of what occurred prior to and during the shooting and a summary of the information presented to the grand jury.
McCulloch said the grand jury concluded there was no probable cause to indict the officer after weighing the evidence and testimony. McCulloch also said an issue during the case was a series of false testimonies, and that several witness accounts all had different claims on where Brown’s hands were during the shooting.
“The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction,” McCulloch said in the televised press conference.
McCulloch also said that prior to receiving the autopsy reports, the grand jury heard from witnesses.
CNN reported that the office of the prosecuting attorney in St. Louis County sent out a statement early Monday afternoon that said the grand jury had made a decision and that it was going to be announced later that day.
Media outlets were then told that the announcement would take place at 8 p.m. central time. Throughout the evening, individuals continued to question why the announcement was being pushed into the evening.
The office of African American Student Affairs was holding its Diaspora Dinner the evening that the announcement was made. Matice Moore, the program director for AASA, informed everyone in attendance that the decision was going to be announced during the event.
Moore informed the attendees of the event that prior to beginning the evening, they would watch a video with statements from people living in Ferguson, Mo. Following the video, she informed everyone that the evening would be flexible and allow for discussion when the verdict was announced.
Prior to the announcement of the verdict, news outlets reported that major cities across the country were seeing protesters gather in preparation, in addition to those in Ferguson and St. Louis.
CNN reported that following the announcement of the verdict, hundreds of people gathered outside of the Ferguson police station began to chant and surged towards the metal gates, where they were met with police officers in riot gear.
“I just wanted to start by [acknowledging] this historic moment we are in, and definitely [by] honoring what is happening in Ferguson and honoring it by being together,” Moore said.
Brown’s family released a statement following the announcement asking that the frustration of the verdict be funneled towards positive change.
The statement, released by Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr., read, “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.”
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