By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog Kathy Wray Coleman is a community activist and 20 year investigative journalist who trained for 17 years at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. (www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com)
FERGUSON, Missouri- A largely White St. Louis County grand jury on Monday unanimously refused to issue an indictment on criminal charges against Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed Black teen Michael Brown (picturedon Aug 9.
The grand jury at issue was chosen by a White judge.
"They determined that no probable cause exist to return an indictment," said St Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCullouch in a courthouse statement Monday night as hundreds of protesters and others waited outside of the Ferguson Police Department for the news.
The National Guard and Ferguson police in riot gear were nearby, hoping to quell any violent outbursts around the controversial grand jury decision. But violent riots broke out as the night went on.
Shots were fired and some protesters immediately began throwing bottles at police, and breaking out windows, and tried to turn over a police cruiser and vandalize a Chinese restaurant.
A few incidents of looting occurred, several building were set a blaze and violence simply erupted. More than 80 people were arrested.
Police responded with tear gas.
McCullouch said that there was a full investigation and that speculative data had been promoted by a "24 hours news cycle and the sensational appetite of the media."
"I'm ever mindful that this decision will not be accepted by some," said McCullouch."The whole world is watching how we respond and how we react."
McCullouch did admit to reporters that some of the witnesses, all of them Black, did testify before the grand jury that Brown did raise his hands to surrender and was still shot by Wilson. But he would not answer when asked if surrendering with one's hands up should not result in a police killing, though he admitted that some laws might need to be changed as a result of the Brown tragedy.
The grand jury decision puts to rests months of speculation on whether Wilson, who is White, would be criminally charged.
Wilson is currently on administrative leave with pay.
The 12-member grand jury, which consisted of seven males, five females, nine Whites and three Blacks, had to decide whether there was probable cause to commit a crime or crimes and if Wilson committee the crime or crimes. Legal experts have said that the probable cause is a low standard, and certainly a lower standard that roof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is needed for a conviction.
An indictment required support from nine of the 12 members of the grand jury.
St Louis County has roughly a million people and is 24 percent Blacks, U.S. census reports reveal.
President Obama, who sent three White House officials to Brown's funeral in August, has called for calm.
"Using any event as an excuse for violence, is contrary to to rule of law," said Obama.'This is not just an issue for Ferguson but an issue for America."
Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., had called for calm regardless of the ruling saying that he did not want his son to die in vain and that he wants the tragic incident "to lead to positive change."
The fatal shooting has unleashed riots in the majority Black city of Ferguson, and protests in over 50 cities across the country including in New York, Washington D.C. and Cleveland, Ohio, a largely Black major American city also dealing with a host of deadly shootings in the city's Black community.
Only four of Ferguson's 53 police officers are Black, and it shows.