A grand jury in the US state of Missouri has declined to indict a white police officer for killing an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson last summer.
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, 28, will not face charges for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said on Monday night.
The grand jury “weighed evidence and testimony before concluding there was no probable cause to indict the officer,” McCulloch said. “The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction.”
After being informed of the decision by authorities, Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family said, “The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges.”
Brown’s family, who are staying at a hotel in the St. Louis area, said the ruling was “profoundly disappointing” and called for calm and peaceful protests.
Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, began crying and shouting after being informed about the jury’s decision, Crump said. “What do you mean no indictment?” she screamed.
The grand jury’s long awaited decision was announced after darkness had fallen. Wilson can still face civil rights charges brought by the US Justice Department or a civil lawsuit filed by Brown’s parents.
The 12-member grand jury, including nine whites and three African Americans, had been meeting in secret for months on whether probable cause existed to bring charges against Wilson.
Rights groups have vowed to hold fresh protests if Wilson is not indicted in the killing, while the state of Missouri has been planning a massive police presence to deal with any potential violence.
Brown’s death triggered weeks of protests and clashes between police and demonstrators in Ferguson. At times, the police used unnecessary and disproportionate force.