Grand Jury Refuses To Indict White Officer In Shooting Of Black Teenager
When Jay Nixon was told the grand jury was about to wrap -up its work, he called Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Contingency plans which had been written months ago were activated.
If there were any way to stave off a repeat of the violence Nixon was determined to find and use it.
Jay Nixon was picked as Missouri’s governor in 2009. Elected on a platform of equality and justice, Nixon’s philosophy had been rocked three months before when a white cop shot a black teenager in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis.
Nixon detailed law enforcement to quell protests that could explode when a grand jury decided the fate of the white police officer. Tensions built for weeks while the suburb wanted the announcement of the grand jury’s decision. Rumors and speculation had spread. The panel was not going to indict.
Weeks of demonstrations followed Brown’s shooting on August 9th. St. Louis County Prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, was intent on avoiding any problems as he presented evidence to the grand jury.
While Nixon was preparing for the statehouse and McCulloch was in the courthouse, St Louis activists were conducting training for legal observation and non-violent protest techniques. In case the non-violent protest went sideways, activists were also training participants in street first aid treatment.
The National Lawyers Guild and American Civil Liberties Union assisted in the training when attempts to negotiate terms of engagement with law enforcement broke down.
Some businesses boarded up windows and drew plans on protecting themselves, their employees and their business. The Ferguson School District reviewed plans in case the protests turned deadly, and schools had to dismiss students early for their safety.
Failure To Indict Lit Chaos
When McCulloch announced the grand jury’s judgment not to convict Wilson chaos exploded, and gunshots were detected as shops across town were set ablaze.
The fury ignored the requests of Brown’s parents who had been calling for peace.
One resident told CNN, “This is crazy. This doesn’t do anything.”
Cops made 29 arrests and counted over 150 gunshots. The police chief denied reports of law enforcement firing at anyone.
“No police have incurred any serious injuries,” said Police Chief Jon Belmar. “To my knowledge, police have not caused any serious injuries.”
With reports of gunshots being fired into the sky, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction which left only law enforcement aircraft permitted to fly in the zone. Media aircraft were allowed to hover above the no-fly zone.
Ferguson Becomes A New York Play
In early November 2017, Phelim McAleer enjoyed the opening night of his play “Ferguson” an impressive re-enactment of the grand jury discussions. McAleer relied on the original transcript that culminated in the jury’s decision and debunked broadly understood but unsubstantiated details in the case.
“I just felt the truth wasn’t being told,” McAleer told TheWrap.