The decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson for his role in the shooting death of Michael Brown shines a spotlight on the flawed criminal justice system that we have set up in this country. An unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a police officer and that officer will never see the inside of a criminal courtroom.
For the second time in six months, black churches are burning. There have been six fires since October 8, all within a few miles of each other around St. Louis. Five have been at predominantly black churches, while the sixth was at a mixed church. Each fire has been set at the door, and while most have done minimal damage—one pastor called them “amateur hour” arsons—one nearly destroyed a building.
A member of the grand jury that declined to indict the white Missouri police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old sued the prosecutor in the case on Monday, criticizing the way evidence was presented to grand jurors and seeking court permission to speak publicly about the way the case was handled. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in St. Louis against St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch by the grand juror, whose name was withheld and was referred to as "Grand Juror Doe."
Boy, the St. Louis police really know how to cool things down, don’t they? They’ve taken a controversial protest by a handful of football players, and mixed it with a whiff of bullying authority and a profound misunderstanding of the First Amendment, to create a bigger and more heated argument than it had to be. Sound familiar?
To read through the transcripts of the Ferguson grand jury investigation of the shooting of Michael Brown is to be reminded of how unreliable eyewitness testimony often is. We know a great deal of this testimony must be unreliable, because it’s so contradictory on so many key points. In particular, in regard to what, from a legal perspective, is the single most important question in the case, various witnesses tell critically different stories. That question is whether Brown was running away from, or charging toward, or slowly staggering in the direction of, Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot at him 12 times, hitting him with seven bullets.
Michael Brown's mother says hearing that a grand jury had decided not to indict the officer who killed her son felt like getting shot. "We heard this and it was just like, like I had been shot. Like you shoot me now -- just no respect, no sympathy, nothing," Lesley McSpadden told CNN's Sunny Hostin on Wednesday. "This could be your child. This could be anybody's child." A New York Times video captured the moments after McSpadden heard about the decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the white officer who killed her son, Michael Brown, a black teen. She stood with protesters outside the Ferguson police department, sobbing uncontrollably.
In a recent dispatch from Ferguson, Missouri, Jelani Cobb noted that President Obama's responses to "unpunished racial injustices" constitute "a genre unto themselves." Monday night, when Barack Obama stood before the nation to interpret the non-indictment of Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, he offered a particularly tame specimen. The elements of "the genre" were all on display—an unmitigated optimism, an urge for calm, a fantastic faith in American institutions, an even-handedness exercised to a fault. But if all the limbs of the construct were accounted for, the soul of the thing was not.
Some 2,000 National Guard troops helped ward off a second night of rampant arson and looting in suburban St. Louis after a grand jury declined to indict a white policeman in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, and sympathy protests spread to several U.S. cities. President Barack Obama appealed for dialogue, and his attorney general promised that a federal probe into the Aug. 9 slaying of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, would be rigorous.
Following the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, prominent lawyer and MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom argued on Twitter that St. Louis County prosecutors did a bad job questioning Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson about the shooting of Michael Brown. She argued the questioning was basically a "tea party," far from the "grueling session" it should have been.
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