Americans react to the Ferguson grand jury decision
As protests erupted in Ferguson, Americans across the country took to their own neighborhoods to respond to the grand jury’s decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of Michael Brown.
Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Wilson in broad daylight on Aug. 9, following an altercation that ended with Wilson shooting the unarmed teenager at least six times, autopsies revealed. Police say Wilson, who is white, shot the black teen in self-defense after Brown reached for the officer’s gun through the window of the police car. Brown’s body was left in the hot street for hours before it was removed from the scene.
Forensic evidence, published in The New York Times and attributed to unnamed sources, suggested the first shots were fired from inside Wilson’s vehicle. A half-dozen eyewitnesses have said publicly that they saw Brown flee to later turn and put his hands up in surrender as Wilson fired the final fatal shots. But a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told NBC News’ Pete Williams that Wilson said the teen turned and charged back toward him after running from the vehicle, at which point Wilson feared for his life.
The shooting has become representative of the strained relationship between police and minority communities, as well as American race relations more broadly. When the decision not to indict the police officer for Brown’s death was announced, thousands of Americans took to the streets to protest.
“We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for Ferguson. This is an issue for America,” President Barack Obama said in a rare late-night address.
While gunfire and flames engulfed parts of Ferguson, Missouri, protesters across the nation — everywhere from Seattle to New York City — were largely peaceful. Here’s a look at the protesters across the country who are making their voices heard.