Ferguson erupts after cop not charged in Michael Brown shooting

2014-11-25 07:15

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A Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer on any charges in the fatal August shooting of an unarmed black teenager unleashed a wave of violent protests last night.

Angry crowds took to the streets around the Ferguson, Missouri, police department after the grand jury determined there was no probable cause to charge officer Darren Wilson with any crime for the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The incident highlighted longstanding racial tensions in the predominantly black city, which has a white-dominated power structure.

“They determined that no probable cause exists to file any charge against officer Wilson,” St Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch told reporters.

Wilson could have faced charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to first-degree murder, McCulloch said.

Storefront windows were smashed near the Ferguson Police Department and at least two cars on the street were set on fire. Gunshots could be heard. Police responded with volleys of tear gas and flash-bang canisters.

Brown’s family said they were “profoundly disappointed” by the grand jury’s finding.

“While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change,” the family said.

President Barack Obama called for protesters to remain peaceful and for police to show restraint.

“We are a nation built on the rule of law and so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make,” Obama said in a televised news conference.

“We need to recognize that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation. The fact remains that in too many parts of this country a deep distrust exists between police and communities of colour.”

A crowd of several hundred people gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department ahead of the news, and many began to scream angrily as the news of the grand jury’s decision was read.

“Murderers, you’re nothing but murderers,” one woman shouted through a megaphone at officers clad in riot gear. “Stinking murderers.”

A group of protesters briefly mobbed a police car, throwing rocks and knocking out its windows, prompting a group of officers clad in riot gear to advance.

Sounds of gunshots briefly caused police to take cover behind their vehicles.

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