On August 9, 18-year-old black teen, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the Ferguson suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. Over three months later, after nationwide outcry and protests, a Ferguson grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in the shooting.
The timeline below follows the events leading up to the emotional decision, which came down on Monday night, November 24.
Who is Michael Brown and what happened to him?
Michael Brown, an 18-year-old from Ferguson, was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson on Saturday, August 9, while walking to visit his grandmother. Brown was unarmed at the time. According to his mother, Lesley McSpadden, the Normandy High School graduate was set to begin classes at Vatterott College in Missouri, on Monday, August 11, just two days after his death.
Why was he shot?
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said there was a physical confrontation between Brown, the police officer who shot him, and Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson. They claim that Brown pushed the officer into his squad car and attempted to grab his gun, before shots were fired.
How did the community react to the shooting?
There were immediate protests in St. Louis following the shooting. Residents congregated around the site of Brown’s death, and at the Ferguson police headquarters with arms raised in the air chanting, “Don’t shoot,” “I’m Michael Brown,” “No justice, no peace” and “killer cops have got to go.” At one point, protests turned into looting and a QuikTrip was set on fire. A SWAT team descended on the city armed with tear gas to disperse the crowds and the environment became temporarily hostile.
Was officer Darren Wilson ever arrested?
Despite repeated calls for Darren Wilson’s arrest, that never happened. After his identity was revealed, he was only placed on paid administrative leave.
What did President Obama say about the shooting?
On Tuesday, August 12, the White House issued an official statement from the president, which acknowledged the anger in Ferguson but also begged residents to keep the peace. Two days later, Obama delivered a carefully worded statement, saying that the police department in Ferguson should be transparent in their investigation, while adding that protestors should not be denied to right to rally peacefully in the streets.
What did Michael Brown’s autopsy results determine?
Autopsy results have concluded that Michael Brown was shot at least six times. A private autopsy conducted by Dr. Michael Baden, at the request by Brown’s family, showed that the teen was shot in the hand at close range at least once, and that the one of the final bullets struck him in the head. An official autopsy from the St. Louis Country Coroner also determined that he was shot in the chest and arms.
When was Michael Brown buried?
Brown was laid to rest during a funeral service at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, on August 25, where thousands of people came out to pay their respects, including Spike Lee, Martin Luther King III, and the families of Emmett Till, Trayvon and Jordan Davis. Ahead of the funeral, Michael Brown Sr., asked protestors to observe a ‘moment of silence’ during his son’s service.
When was the issue taken to court?
On August 20, a St. Louis County grand jury began to hear evidence in the case. In October, a leak from within the grand jury suggested that there might not be enough evidence to convict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting. As the grand jury got closer to making their decision, St. Louis Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in the city. He feared that unrest might erupt if Wilson was not indicted, and the National Guard was called into the city for preventative measures.
Has the Ferguson police department acknowledged any wrongdoing?
Over a month after the shooting, on September 25, Ferguson Police chief Thomas Jackson issued a formal apology to Brown’s family. “I am truly sorry for the loss of your son,” he said in a video posted online. “I’m also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street.”
Did the protests stop after August?
Protests in St. Louis continued well into the fall. In October, organizers of “Ferguson October” protests marched to the Ferguson police headquarters and remained there for almost four hours to mark the amount of time Brown’s body was left in the street. On November 11, 100 days after Brown’s death, protestors staged a “die in” in St. Louis, where they laid inside chalk outlines in the street, blocking a major traffic intersection.
Will officer Darren Wilson be put on trial for the shooting?
On Monday night, November 24, during a lengthy televised speech, prosecutor Robert Mcculloch announced that the grand jury would not indict Darren Wilson, meaning that the officer would not be arrested or put on trial for the shooting. Mass protests across the U.S. immediately followed the announcement.
How did Michael Brown’s family respond to the news?
Following the emotional decision, Brown’s parents asked that people protest peacefully, and work to have all police officers in the U.S. equipped with body cameras to prevent further instances like this.
How do government officials plan to address racial tensions Ferguson?
In addition to the FBI conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting, in September the U.S. Justice Department launched a broader civil rights investigation into the Ferguson police department. They planned to look into accusations that the shooting was racially motivated. And in November, governor Jay Nixon swore in a 16-member panel of experts, whose goal it is to explore the underlying economic and social problems that are contributing to the city’s racial issues.