Ferguson Streets Explode in Anger After Grand Jury Opts Not to Indict Darren Wilson

Posted Nov. 26, 2014

MP3 Interview with Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, conducted by Scott Harris


Not long after St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the decision of the Missouri grand jury not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9, the streets of Ferguson exploded in anger and violence. After a dozen buildings were looted and set on fire, and more than 150 gun shots were heard, local police fired tear gas on protesters and arrested 82 in a night filled with chaos and rage. Since the grand jury announcement, mostly peaceful protest rallies have been held in more than a dozen cities across the U.S.

An attorney representing Michael Brown’s family, Benjamin Crump, responded to the grand jury decision by charging that the jury process itself was “broken.” Many attorneys and legal observers across the country echoed Crump’s criticism, noting that prosecutor McCulloch’s decision not to recommend any charges to members of the grand jury was highly unusual. McCulloch was also criticized for remarks blatantly attempting to discredit several witnesses during the grand jury announcement. A Justice Department investigation into the possible violation of Michael Brown’s civil rights – and the Ferguson Police Department’s alleged use of excessive force is ongoing.

In remarks in Chicago the day after the grand jury announcement and riots erupted in the streets of Ferguson, President Obama condemned the violence while pledging to redouble his efforts to find solutions to the distrust between law enforcement and minority communities. The president observed that "the problem is not just a Ferguson problem. It's an American problem." Obama has assigned Attorney General Eric Holder the task of leading regional discussions to address the root cause of the crisis in Ferguson. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Here, he discusses the repercussions of the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson and the larger national issue of police violence in communities of color.

See the Unitarian Universalist Association president's statement following the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson.

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