Photo courtesy Times of San Diego
Update November 26, 2014: Two protests were held last night in San Diego. A downtown rally was peaceful, but protesters in City Heights engaged in civil disobedience blocking a bridge; some bottles were hurled at police officers, UT San Diego report. In Washington, President Obama called for calm after the jury verdict, but voiced concerns over the racial divide and mistrust of police, adding that despite strides made in civil rights, America still has a long way to go.
By Miriam Raftery
November 25, 2014 (San Diego)—A Grand Jury in Ferguson, Missouri announced Monday night that there will be no indictments against police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager. Jurors heard conflicting testimony from witnesses including some who said Wilson shot Brown when his hands were up as if to surrender, but others described Brown as confrontational and one witness claimed Brown charged at Officer Wilson, head down.
The verdict has prompted protests in cities across the nation. California Campaign to End Police Terror has announced demonstrations statewide including a protest planned Monday night, November 25th at 6 p.m. at the City Heights library, located at 3795 Fairmount Avenue in San Diego.
A statement on United Against Police Terror-San Diego’s Facebook page reads, “Ferguson is everywhere—and we are building a movement for justice for Mike Brown and an end to police violence nationwide. “ Noting that people in Ferguson have faced tanks, tear gas and militarized police forces, the post adds, “Just like people have done throughout American history, we are making our voices heard, taking to the streets and using our First Amendment rights to engage in strong actions of civil disobedience.”
In Ferguson, the streets erupted into violence after the verdict, resulting in over 80 arrests, 10 News reports. Several police cars and other vehicles were burned. CNN reports sounds of gunshots were heard though police claim no shots were fired. Police did however shoot bean bags and tear gas into a crowd. Some in the crowd hurled bottles, including one that struck a CNN reporter in the head.
The Brown family was reportedly “devastated” by the decision but urged supporters to channel their energies in ways to make “positive change” in the system and not to resort to violence.
Wilson, who was married last month, issued a statement through his attorneys thanking those who “stood by his side.”
Wilson could still face consequences, since the U.S. Justice Department is conducting two civil rights investigations (one into Wilson’s actions and a second into the police department’s treatment of minorities). A civil suit by Brown’s family also remains a possibility.