On August 9 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old teen Michael Brown. The grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri deemed that there was no probable cause to press criminal charges against Darren Wilson for shooting an 18-year-old teen.
Wilson testified that Brown attacked him first and that he warned Brown that he would shoot. Witnesses have given inconsistent accounts of what took place in August, saying that Wilson stood over Brown and shot him in the back, or that Brown had his hands up when Wilson fired, but these claims were never made public and could not be used by the jury.
After the verdict, riots broke out in Ferguson that resulted in vandalism, looting, and burning cars including police cruisers. The riots have also resulted in several structures burning to the ground. There have been reports of shotgun fire, but there have been no reported injuries. Police used smoke bombs and tear gas to break up the riots. Some rioters/protesters stood with their hands up chanting “hands up, don’t shoot.”
Although the riots took place in Ferguson, protests have arisen all over the country reacting to police killings across America. Some protests have even sprung up in London. Just recently, a 12-year-old boy in Cleveland was shot by a police officer after reaching for his pellet gun when officers told him to put his hands up.
The Brown family tweeted “While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change.”
President Obama addressed the nation on Monday night stating that “hurting others or destroying property is not the answer” and that “a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of colour."
Hundreds of protesters have begun a week-long march in Missouri and plan to be similar to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
The protests are still active and appear to be growing, as racial tensions are high in America.