This past Monday, a monumental decision was made: a grand jury declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal August 9 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
The verdict reignited powerful public frustrations concerning racial injustice in America, and the city of Ferguson was set ablaze – both literally and figuratively – as the public took to the streets.
According to the Washington Post , Wilson, 28, will face no state charges for his crime.
Emotions shot out of control as at least two police cars and half a dozen buildings were set on fire.
Police shot multiple rounds of tear gas into the crowds, as Christmas lights reading “Season’s Greetings” glowed softly throughout the downtown area.
Derrick Whitlock, a man in the crowd, yelled , “This ain’t Iraq, this is the United States,” at a line of police officers standing guard in front of the Ferguson Police Department.
However, images of the city from last night look very similar to a war zone.
CNN reports that there were so many fires, the firefighters couldn’t get to every one.
There were also reports of gunshots – Police Chief John Belmar said he heard at least 100 through the night.
By the end of Monday night, police ended up making at least 61 arrests for crimes ranging from burglary to arson.
Though the streets were mostly cleared by Tuesday morning, tension is higher than ever.
Whitlock stated , “People here have a real grudge against the police…
It’s not going away.” Protests have begun nationwide, and some even rallied in front of the White House.
In New York’s Union Square, protestors held up huge, lit up signs reading, “Black Lives Matter.” Many politicians, including President Obama, have responded to the verdict.
Attorney General Eric H.
called Brown’s death a tragedy that has “sparked a national conversation about the need to ensure confidence between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve.” Obama said , “First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law, so we need to accept this decision was the grand jury’s to make,” explaining that whatever the grand jury’s take on the matter, lashing out at others is not an acceptable reaction.
As for the Brown family, they have responded , “We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.” However, they do not condone violence.
They continued , “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.
Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.”