[JURIST] A grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, decided Monday not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in August. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch [official website] released documents and evidence [NYT materials] that were presented to the grand jury, including jury transcripts, witness interviews, forensic reports and photographs. As protesters take to the street in response to the grand jury decision, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged Missouri law enforcement not to resort to excessive force [press release]. Commenting on the grand jury decision, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri [advocacy website] issued a statement [ACLU press release]:
The grand jury’s decision does not negate the fact that Michael Brown’s tragic death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters. Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable. While many officers carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also commented on the “disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers.” He urged [press release] authorities to examine how race-related issues are affecting law enforcement and the administration of justice at both state and federal levels.
The death of Michael Brown [USA Today report], an African American teenager, has prompted mass protests as many Ferguson residents believe the killing was racially motivated. Last month AI reported that police in Ferguson committed human rights abuses [JURIST report] against peaceful protestors. Earlier in October a federal judge ruled that a tactic employed by police to control protestors in Ferguson in August was unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report]. In late August five people brought a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson [JURIST report] for the use of unnecessary and unwarranted force by St. Louis County Police and Ferguson Police.