Top Stories for Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Officer Darren Wilson Breaks Silence in Interview

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Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Met With Looting, Arson and Rioting

From the AP, “Ferguson businesses torched in overnight protests”: “Smoke billowed from burned-out buildings and sidewalks were strewn with broken glass Tuesday morning after Ferguson erupted over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the killing of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Firefighters were dousing the blackened remains of some businesses and at least one was still ablaze. Some Ferguson stores that weren’t burned had smashed display windows, but the streets of the St. Louis suburb were mostly clear.

Monday night’s protests were far more destructive than any of those that followed Brown’s Aug. 9 death, with more than a dozen businesses badly damaged or destroyed. Authorities reported hearing hundreds of gunshots, which for a time prevented fire crews from fighting the flames.

There were 61 arrests in Ferguson overnight, many for burglary and trespassing, St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman said. There were 21 arrests in St. Louis, where protesters broke some store windows along South Grand Avenue, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said.

Jon Belmar, chief of the St. Louis County police, said that unless his agency could bring in 10,000 officers, “I don’t think we can prevent folks who really are intent on destroying a community.”

At least 14 people were injured during the overnight protests, including two people who were admitted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries. That hospital treated and released five people. Six people were treated for minor injuries at Christian Hospital, near Ferguson. Saint Louis University Hospital treated and released another. Other hospitals didn’t immediately respond to phone messages and emails seeking comment.”

From Yahoo News, “Protestors Leave Ferguson in Shambles” [SLIDESHOW]

From CNN, ‘A thousand Fergusons across America’“: “Some people here just wanted the drama to end. Others say it can never end, not as long as a white cop can shoot an unarmed black teenager to death without consequences.

On the street in front of Ferguson‘s police station on Monday night, the tension crackled as hundreds of people awaited a grand jury’s decision and chanted demands for an indictment.

They were denied.

No indictment, the grand jury said.

Officer Darren Wilson will not be charged in the August 9 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

“They don’t care about black people,” said Danielle Hines, in the throng outside the police station. “They treat us like criminals. This is what it feels like to be black in America.”

The crowd surged toward metal gates in front of the station. Some people were crying; many were angry. They threw their hands up and screamed. A chant arose, ” F*ck the police!”

They were met by a phalanx of cops in full riot gear.

“No justice, no peace!”

It soon turned ugly. Protesters turned their rage on police vehicles and boarded-up storefronts. The air was heavy with noxious gas. Police denied it was tear gas, but CNN reporters insisted they had been tear-gassed…

Deidre Johnson, who is raising four boys, had tears in her eyes as she learned the grand jury’s decision.

“I just know they can’t walk on our streets,” she said. “I’m scared. This is so sad.”

Another mother echoed her feelings. “I hate this for our youth,” said Shellie Robinson, who has a 19-year-old son. “We’ve been fighting for 100 days. This breaks my heart.””

From the AP, “Protestors of Ferguson decision flood US streets”: “Thousands of people in U.S. cities from Los Angeles to New York protested peacefully while others blocked traffic or clashed with police as anger flared over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who killed a black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.

Nationwide, demonstrators Monday night led marches, waved signs and shouted chants of “hands up, don’t shoot,” the refrain that has become a rallying cry in protests over police killings across the country.

The most disruptive demonstrations were in St. Louis and Oakland, California, where protesters flooded the lanes of freeways, milling about stopped cars with their hands in the air.

Groups ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred people also gathered in Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, Boston and Washington, D.C., where people held up signs and chanted “justice for Michael Brown” outside the White House.

“Mike Brown is an emblem (of a movement). This country is at its boiling point,” said Ethan Jury, a protester in Philadelphia, where hundreds marched. “How many people need to die? How many black people need to die?”

Activists had been planning to protest even before the nighttime announcement that Officer Darren Wilson will not be charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The racially charged case in Ferguson has inflamed tensions and reignited debates over police-community relations even in cities hundreds of miles from the predominantly black St. Louis suburb.”

From USA Today, “Struggle With Brown Was Like Fighting ‘Hulk Hogan'”:Officer Darren Wilson testified before a St. Louis County grand jury that Michael Brown looked “like a demon” as the bigger man repeatedly punched and assaulted him in an Aug. 9 scuffle that turned deadly.

Wilson said Brown became overpoweringly violent after the officer asked him to stop walking in the middle of a street. “I’ve never seen that much aggression so quickly from a simple request to just walk on the sidewalk,” Wilson testified.

Documents released by the prosecutors office offer a detailed account of the usually secret grand jury proceedings. In them, Wilson describes to the grand jury that he thought Brown was much stronger than him, and that he felt he needed to defend himself with bullets.

Wilson said he initially tried to subdue Brown by physical means, but that “When I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old holding Hulk Hogan.” Brown is described as 6-foot-4 and weighing well over 250 pounds…

After that, he said, Brown ran. “I see a cloud of dust behind him.” He said he chased. Quickly, Brown stopped and so did Wilson, he said. “And then he starts to turn around. I tell him to get on the ground.” Wilson said Brown looked at him and “made like a grunting, like aggravated sound.” He said Brown made a fist with one hand and reached the other into his waistband and started running toward him.

“I shoot a series of shots,” he said. He did not recall how many.

“I remember having tunnel vision on his right hand, that’s all.”

After the shots, Wilson said Brown was still coming at him. “He hadn’t slowed down.” He fired another round of shots. He saw Brown flinch but doesn’t know how many rounds hit him or where. “The face that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there.” He said that he was backing up, but that Brown closed to within eight or 10 feet. “He started to lean forward as he got that close, like he was going to just tackle me, just go right through me.”

Wilson said he fired again, aiming for Brown’s head. “All I see is his head and that’s what I shot.” He didn’t recall how many rounds he fired. “I saw the last one go into him. And then when it went into him, the demeanor on his face went blank, the aggression was gone. … The threat was stopped.”

From Politico, “Al Sharpton: An Absolute Blow”: “The Rev. Al Sharpton says the grand jury decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson is “an absolute blow” and added that “the fight is not over.”

“It was expected, but still an absolute blow to those of us that wanted to see a fair and open trial. I think that it is clear that even when you see a blow coming … it still hurts nonetheless,” Sharpton said late Monday evening from his Harlem offices, according to video posted by Mediaite

Sharpton said he will travel to Ferguson on Tuesday where he will hold a news conference and then plans to return to New York for a rally to call for the federal government “to escalate a criminal indictment.”

“Ferguson is not just Missouri,” Sharpton said. “We can lose a round, but the fight is not over.””