Protests Planned In Detroit After Grand Jury Declines To Indict Ferguson Cop In Shooting
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - In light of a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer who killed a black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, protestors are planning to gather in Detroit to condemn police brutality in "another outrageous act of the racist system here in the United States."
Rev Charles Williams II, president of the National Action Network, said the decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson with the shooting death of Michael Brown is unjust.
"When you have a prosecutor that's presenting the facts to basically protect Darren Wilson, the officer, you know, that's an injustice," Williams said. "And then secondly, the local prosecutor could have just indicted Mr. Wilson. He did not have to go through a Grand Jury. He could have indicted and he didn't take the opportunity to do that.
Detroit will join cities across the country at noon Tuesday, urging a federal justice department investigation into the case. Protestors will also be gathering at 4:30 p.m. at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. Demonstrators are encouraged to bring signs and banners.
"Over 27 cities will be joining together to have a national demonstration in front of federal courthouses, calling on the attorney general to enter into this process to begin to get us justice," Williams said. "We're not getting justice from local prosecutors when it comes to police brutality. The only time that we get justice is when it gets to the federal Department of Justice."
While the Ferguson case will be the main focus of the demonstrations, protestors hope to draw attention to similar situations.
"Michael Brown is only one of the cases that we're concerned about. There's Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, there's McKenzie Cochran in Southfield, Michigan, there's Eric Garner in New York. I mean, there's case after case after case. The federal government needs to step in and send in some prosecution," Williams said.
Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said the jury of nine whites and three blacks met on 25 separate days over three months, hearing more than 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses, including three medical examiners and experts on blood, toxicology and firearms.
"I have to think that all of the witnesses that testified, they just were inconsistent in their stories," said WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton. "And when you have inconsistency in testimony, as basic as it is at this stage in the legal process, there's no way there could be a verdict of guilty."
The Justice Department is conducting a separate investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges, but investigators would need to satisfy a rigorous standard of proof in order to mount a prosecution. The department also has launched a broad probe into the Ferguson Police Department, looking for patterns of discrimination.
Regardless of the outcome of those investigations, Brown's family could also file a wrongful-death lawsuit against Wilson.
"I do expect that there will be a civil lawsuit," Langton said. "The family of Michael Brown will bring a lawsuit against various police officers and police agencies etcetera. But remember, a civil lawsuit is completely different that a criminal case."
[Continuing Coverage at CBSStLouis.com]
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