Ferguson Protests Day II: What You Need To Know

Photo: Courtesy Of Rex USA.
On Monday night, a grand jury announced the Darren Wilson would not be charged for shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO this August. Around the country, people have been reacting to the decision with grief, rage, and disbelief.
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Day Two Protesters returned to the streets of Ferguson for a second night on Tuesday to express their anger over a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson.
The protests were less chaotic than Monday night’s, in which dozens of buildings were burned, but there were still arrests Tuesday, and reports of tear gassing. Around the country, protesters gathered in more than 170 cities. In Manhattan, thousands marched, blocking major roads and bridges. Police say nearly 100 were arrested in Los Angeles on the second night of protests.
Michael Brown’s parents spoke on NBC Wednesday morning. Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, said the days since the grand jury decision have been “sleepless, very hard, heartbreaking, and unbelievable."
Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., said that Darren Wilson’s version of events sounded difficult to believe. “It sounds crazy.”
Photo: Sebastiano Tomada/Getty Images.n
Officer Darren Wilson also gave an interview, his first since the shooting, sitting down with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. Wilson was emphatic that Brown was the aggressor and denied eyewitness claims that said Brown’s hands were up at the time he was shot. Wilson said that his conscience is clean. For more on Wilson's interview, check our coverage here.
Day One
Photo: David McNew/Getty Images.n
Crowds began to gather in the streets of Ferguson in the hours before the announcement was made. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon activated the National Guard, and as rumors grew that Wilson would not be indicted, tension mounted. Protesters stayed out throughout the night.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there were more than 61 arrests in Ferguson Monday, and at least 10 businesses were destroyed by fires. Reports of tear gas deployed by police started to surface by 9:15 p.m. local time, shortly after the announcement. National Guard troops arrived on the scene at about 1 a.m. Local news and social media showed images of broken windows, burglaries and looting.
The St. Louis County Police posted on Facebook that the destruction resulting from Monday night's protests was "much worse" than anything they saw in August, when Brown was killed. Several protesters were treated and released from a local hospital, but there are no reported serious injuries or deaths.
Photo: Sebastiano Tomada/Getty Images.

Protests Around The Country

Protesters gathered in many American cities. Those in Los Angeles staged a "die-in" (see the LA Times for pictures), and several were arrested.

More than a thousand people marched in New York on Monday. In Times Square, a protester splattered NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton with fake blood.
There are protests planned on Tuesday in support of Michael Brown in at least 115 cities.
Grieving Parents Respond Michael Brown's parents posted a short statement in the moments after the decision was released, expressing sadness that their son's killer would walk free and urging the protesters to be peaceful. It's in its entirety below:
"We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequences 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.
"Join us in our campaigns 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.
"Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference."

Wilson Also Responds
Officer Wilson's lawyers also released a statement in the moments after the announcement — thanking his supporters and reiterating his belief that he acted in accordance with the law and his training. Nowhere in the brief statement did he mention Brown or his family or offer condolences.

The President's Response
At 10 p.m. in Washington, D.C., President Obama made a somber statement addressing the decision not to indict Wilson. He emphasized that legally, the decision was the grand jury's to make. Acknowledging that many would be angry, he urged that "anyone who protests this decision do so peacefully," before quoting Brown's father.
The President then addressed the issue more broadly, saying that regrettably, in many parts of the country, "a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color." He added that he'd asked Attorney General Holder to look at ways to fix the problem. His remarks were notably less personal and more reserved than the statement he made in the wake of Trayvon Martin's killing, in which he compared the slain teenager to a younger version of himself.
On Tuesday afternoon, the President's spokesman said that Obama was considering a trip to Ferguson soon, "as things calm down".

The Grand Jury Docs

Monday, St. Louis County Prosecutors Office released all the evidence that the grand jury saw before choosing not to indict Officer Wilson. The 12 member body met in secret for several months before deciding. The documents included Darren Wilson's testimony to the grand jury. In it, he described the 18-year-old Brown as looking, "like a demon."

Wilson's testimony — in which he describes his reasoning for shooting Brown — was also released. The Washington Post has a detailed recap.

The Wilson Photos

Also among the evidence released are the photos taken of Wilson at the emergency room the night of Brown's death.

Photo: Courtesy of St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office.n
The photos show some facial redness (the official report diagnoses him with a "contusion," which is the medical word for a bruise). The pictures seem to directly contradict earlier reports that Wilson was seriously injured or beaten during his confrontation with Michael Brown.
Photo: Courtesy of St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office.
In his announcement Monday night, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch stressed how thorough the investigation was, and blamed the 24-hour news cycle and rumors on social media for complicating the investigation. He cited conflicting eyewitness reports and said that the decision not to indict was based on physical evidence.
A video of the full statement McCulloch gave before announcing the grand jury's decision is below.

More Reading

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is very up-to-date with the situation on the ground.

The New York Times' live-blog is keeping up with protests outside Ferguson.

NPR has a detailed look at how the grand jury reached its verdict.
The Hairpin took on what you can do if you're mad about Michael Brown's death.
Five Thirty Eight points out how incredibly rare it is for a grand jury to do what this one did.
The Atlantic explains why it might be harder for white people to understand the anger around the grand jury decision.

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