Following a grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the August 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, MTV fans and followers came forward with a mixed bag of reactions. Truly, no one side spoke louder than the other -- those who support Michael Brown and those who support Officer Wilson have been equally vocal.
The decision came last night, prompting protests around the country by those who felt Wilson was not sufficiently punished for shooting the unarmed teen, whom the officer felt he was justified in killing as he believed Brown posed a threat to his safety.
Not everyone agreed with the protesters, however, or the celebrities who came forward in support of Brown.
He Was Doing His Job
Some readers opined that Wilson was merely doing his job when it came to shooting Brown, who was a suspect in an earlier robbery.
"Racism is more than alive in this world," Zhiara Mae Chesley commented on Facebook. "But in this case, it's all bullsh--. As an officer myself, Officer Wilson was in the right and did his job. If that's wrong then what's the point in protecting and serving the people? If I was in Officer Wilson's shoes, I would have done the same."
James Arthur Merchant Jr. commented that he sympathized with Wilson. "There isn't a man or woman alive that can say what a police officer feels day in a day out," he wrote. "They suit up to protect and see things we all wouldn't want to see. I'm half white and half Mexican. If I robbed a store, punked a clerk and assaulted a police officer I would expect with that stupidity to get beat down or shot. That's why I don't break the law."
Wilson has claimed that Brown assaulted him before the officer shot the teen.
No Justice Was Served
Other readers, however, were frustrated and angry with the grand jury's decision. Patrick Packie McReary, for one, commented, "The results we got tonight weren't surprising but at the same time despicable. Whatever may have happened that day, this police officer got to walk away even after all this epic distress over the these past months. The shear fact that this all was so poorly handled at the start is aggravating. The police, the local and national government, even the President, have done so little, except to add more fire."
Some were more succinct. "This country's justice system disgusts me," Celeste Solano stated, while Adrienne Celeste said, "No matter what the outcome of this trial a boy still died! Innocent or not, his family and friends lost a loved one. Racist or not, trial or no trial, they deserve some type of respect!" Mahdi Price, for one, railed against those calling Brown a criminal, "So sad that a you man lost his life and people are saying he got what he deserved," she said.
Stop The Rioting
Overall -- no matter what side they came down on -- readers are pretty uniformly asking the citizens of Ferguson to stay peaceful during this time of unrest.
"Please, people, I'm all for the First Amendment, but looting, setting places on fire, assaulting police officers, and shooting at firemen and EMS providers, and throwing rocks at news reporters is not the way to voice an opinion," William Schmeelk wrote.
Dee Washington urged readers to go beyond marching in the streets and reach for more impactful solutions, "Be the change that you want out of life," she said. "The only thing that both sides of this dilemma should be fighting for is for police officers to start wearing body cameras to decrease the confusion. Work together to ERASE a negative situation and find some positive outcome to it instead."
Tatiana K. M. Shaw had a similar viewpoint. "Get involved in politics and your community let your voice be heard," she wrote. "If you don't like the law, change it. Don't complain and riot when you won't get up and go vote. So sad this happened -- it wasn't the first time and it won't be the last. It's up to us to change it. Our children shouldn't have to go through this."
These readers' pleas mirrored directly the statement Brown's family released following the decision. They called for peaceful protests and urged people to campaign for future changes -- including cop body cameras -- to ensure that such instances do not keep repeating themselves.
Did we miss your opinion on the grand jury's decision? Weigh in in the comments below.