Ferguson, Missouri has been the center of a broad conversation about racially biased policing, police militarization, and the US justice system since August 9th, when Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. Tonight, a grand jury responsible for investigating the evidence in the case decided to spare Wilson from criminal charges.
In response to the grand jury's decision, Michael Brown's family said "we are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions:" In their statement, the Brown family asks everyone to "join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera."
"Join with us in our campaign"
The Brown family's plea has been echoed by civil rights activists and others who believe that the public needs a more rigorous record of police behavior in light of racially biased brutality and other abuses.
In the days and weeks following Brown's death, residents protesting the tragedy were met with dramatic and intimidating force from the St. Louis County Police. Livestreams and local witnesses provided a close, first-person look at the events through social media. Even though official media outlets had been hampered with bogus no-fly zone restrictions and illegal arrests, many shared the events with the world through their smartphones. Observers witnessed dramatic scenes on US streets from the front lines: police shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, detaining reporters, a police officer pointing a rifle at someone and saying "I'll fucking kill you."
Brown's family has been waiting for months to find out if the officer that killed their son would face an indictment. Days ago, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a pre-emptive state of emergency that has raised speculation that the government expected Officer Wilson not to be charged with a crime. It is the second time Nixon has declared a state of emergency in Missouri since Brown's death in response to largely peaceful and lawful protests from aggrieved residents.
Here is the full statement from the family of Michael Brown:
We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.
While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.
Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.
We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not an appropriate reaction.
Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference.