No Indictment From Ferguson Grand Jury. Police Officer Darren Wilson Won't Face Trial for Killing Michael Brown.

A decision that's likely to leave many people unsatisfied.


Darren Wilson
Screen Capture

Note: Scroll down for the latest coverage.

No indictment, says St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch. "No probable cause exists to file any charge against Officer Wilson," he announced.

The grand jury has spoken in the case of (soon to be former) Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. Brown's death inflamed Ferguson, Missouri, St. Louis County, and the country beyond. There's little doubt that the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson will leave many people unsatisfied.

Michael Brown's death raised questions about police conduct—especially with regard to minority communities. The incident excites different reactions across the racial divide, with many black and white Americans perceiving the shooting, and the proper treatment of Officer Wilson, very differently. It's no surprise that Reason-Rupe polling finds approval of police is highest among older, prosperous, white Republicans.

The reaction to protests in the wake of the shooting introduced many Americans to the sight of police officers dressed in camouflage, wielding assault rifles, and riding armored vehicles. Reason readers are familiar with the frightening militarization of American policing in recent years. But cops-as-troops came as an unpleasant revelation to much of the public.

The grand jury's decision as to the legal treatment—at least so far as the criminal justice system is concerned—of Darren Wilson hardly settles the matter. The conversation over this case, over police conduct, and over law enforcement's relationship with minority communities will continue in the days to come.

Update: 9:39 pm ET

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch criticizes media coverage and the quality of some witness testimony while describing the evidence that led to the grand  jury's decision. He declines to go into the details of the jury's deliberations, or to reveal more information about the jurors, while revealing that 12 shots were fired by Wilson.

Meanwhile, the police and National Guard prepare outside the Justice Center in Clayton, Missouri (see photo below). 

National Guard stages in Clayton, Missouri
Aaron Malin

Update: 10:02 pm ET

For context: In 2010, says the Bureau of Justice Statistics, as ferreted out by FiveThirtyEight's Ben Casselman, grand juries declined to prosecute 11 times out of 162,000 federal cases U.S. attorneys brought before them.

Update: 10: 34 pm ET

CNN and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report violence in Ferguson in the wake of the grand jury's decision. St, Louis County PD say they're using smoke to disperse crowds, while reporters claim it's tear gas. Reason's Aaron Malin says clergy and community leaders are trying to form a buffer between police and protesters.

Ferguson protesters
Aaron Malin

Update: 10:45 pm ET

Aaron Malin reports gunshots and captures an image of a police car on fire in Ferguson:

Burning police car
Aaron Malin

Update: 11:11 pm ET

Protesters gather at the White House in Washington, D.C. Reason Deputy Managing Editor Stephanie Slade reports that more are on the way.

White House protest
Stephanie Slade

Update: 11:31 pm ET

Riot cops in Ferguson:

Riot cops in Ferguson
Aaron Malin

Protesters at the White House:

Protesters at the White House
Stephanie Slade

Update: November 25, 12:06 am ET

Yes, the situation in Ferguson is completely out of hand. Now, the FAA has implemented a no-fly zone over the area "to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities."


Update: November 25, 12:29 am ET

Aaron Malin captures police activity in Ferguson.