Chieftain Press

What Happened in Ferguson?

Brittany Cormier, Editor

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There’s outrage in the town of Ferguson, Missouri as protesters and National Guard alike wait for the grand jury’s decision on officer Darren Wilson’s indictment for the shooting of Michael Brown. A state of emergency has been declared by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, due to “possibility of expanded unrest.”

Last week the governor stated, “In the days immediately following Michael Brown’s death, peaceful protests were marred by senseless acts of violence and destruction,”

“That ugliness was not representative of Missouri, and it cannot be repeated,” said Nixon.

Under Nixon’s command, the state’s National Guard can be called to keep order and potential violence in the case of Wilson walking free. Even so, the National Guard’s presence has caused growing anxiety in the greater St.Louis area.

This complete debacle started on August 9th, 2014, when unarmed, 18-year old Michael Brown was fatally shot shot by officer Darren Wilson. Witnesses agree that there was a struggle between the two, Wilson remained in his vehicle while Brown ran from the confrontation. Brown was shot six times from a distance, and his bloody body laid in the sun for four hours while witnesses looked on in horror.

Brown was just two days away from starting college. “He was funny, silly.” said Brown’s father. “He would make you laugh. Any problems that were going on or any situation, there wasn’t nothing he couldn’t solve. He’d bring people back together.”

Wilson has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting. The officer’s name was eventually given to the public after pressure from the media a week after the shooting, and long standing racial tension and the belief that Brown had surrendered sparked protests throughout the town, many bringing signs such as “Hands Up, don’t Shoot” and “Stop Killing our Sons.”

Support for Wilson has also been evident. Rallies for his innocence, organized through Facebook, have had successful outcomes, with more than 100 people showing up in downtown St.Louis in support of Wilson. The Facebook group itself has received more than 29,000 likes since August 9th. A second Facebook page, “I Support Officer Wilson,” is almost at 33,000 likes since its creation.

A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case for three months now and will decide if there is probable cause to charge officer Wilson, 28, with a crime. Wilson could potentially serve a life sentence in prison.

A public service announcement released on Thursday by Michael Brown Sr., pleading for peace in regards to the riots. “No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain — I want it to lead to positive change. I thank you for lifting your voices to end racial profiling and police intimidation, but hurting others or destroying property is not the answer.”

According to union officials, charges seem unlikely. Tensions continue to mount as the city awaits as the grand jury’s decision nears, and Officer Wilson’s fate hangs in the balance.

 

UPDATE: Officer Darren Wilson has been set free with no indictment from the grand jury. Mass riots ensued, with rubber bullets, tear gas, and military vehicles being used in an attempt to calm the crowd.

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