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Brown Family Blasts Prosecutor's Handling of Case

AP

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Aleteia - published on 11/24/14

Ferguson awakens to charred buildings, widespread destruction after night of protests, arrests.

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s governor ordered more National Guardsmen into Ferguson on Tuesday to keep order after a night of violence over the grand jury decision in the police shooting of Michael Brown, as attorneys for the Brown family blasted the authorities’ handling of the case.

Smoke billowed from burned-out Ferguson businesses on Tuesday and glass littered the sidewalks from display windows that were smashed during the protests that erupted after it was announced that police Officer Darren Wilson wouldn’t be indicted for killing Brown on Aug. 9.

Monday night’s protests were far more destructive than any of those that followed Brown’s 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.

Gov. Jay Nixon issued a statement saying he was calling in more National Guard troops to assist law enforcement in Ferguson, but he didn’t say how many additional troops or how long they would remain.

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 18 people were injured and sought treatment at area hospitals, including someone who was shot and recovering Tuesday at SSM DePaul Health Center. The hospital didn’t give any details about the shooting. Two other people were admitted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital for undisclosed injuries. Everyone else was treated and released.

Meanwhile, many area districts cancelled classes out of concern for the safety of students traveling to and from school.
The grand jury’s decision means that Wilson, who is white, will not face any state criminal charges for killing Brown, who was black and unarmed. Brown’s death inflamed deep racial tensions between many black Americans and police.

Attorney Benjamin Crump said at a news conference Tuesday that he and the rest of the Brown family’s legal team objected to St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s decision to call a grand jury and to not appoint a special prosecutor.

"We could see what the outcome was going to be, and that is what occurred last night," Crump said.

Wilson’s lawyers issued a statement praising the decision and saying the officer, who has remained out of the public eye since the shooting, is grateful to his supporters.

"Law enforcement personnel must frequently make split-second and difficult decisions," the lawyers wrote. "Officer Wilson followed his training and followed the law."

McCulloch said the jury of nine whites and three blacks met on 25 separate days over three months, hearing more than 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses, including three medical examiners and experts on blood, toxicology and firearms.

In the first flash of unrest after the grand jury announcement, Belmar said he told officers to back off, suggesting they handle the situation as if it were a festival or baseball game. But the situation quickly "spun out of control," as protesters looted businesses and set fire to numerous vehicles, including at least two police cars. Officers eventually lobbed tear gas from inside armored vehicles to disperse crowds.

As McCulloch read his statement, Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, sat atop a vehicle listening to a broadcast of the announcement. When she heard the decision, she burst into tears and began screaming before being whisked away by supporters.

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