CLAYTON, Mo. — Officer Darren Wilson will not face charges in the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Ferguson has been on edge in anticipation of a decision. Some businesses have been boarded up, and activists have been prepared to protest. The Missouri governor declared a state of emergency ahead of the grand jury decision. In Greensboro, students rallied ahead of the verdict.
For the grand jury, the key question was whether Officer Wilson, who is white, would face charges in the shooting death of Brown, 18, who was black.
Though the basic facts of the case — that Brown was unarmed when Wilson shot him — are not in question, the facts of the fatal moment are hotly disputed.
Supporters of Brown’s family back witness accounts that Wilson fired while Brown had his hands up in surrender. Wilson’s supporters say that Brown was the aggressor, had tried to take Wilson’s gun while he was in his vehicle and that the officer fired in self-defense.
The 12-member grand jury had to decide whether Wilson should be charged with any of several possible crimes, including: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, said Ed Magee, a spokesman for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
The grand jury could have issued an indictment on any of those four charges. It also could have added a charge of armed criminal action, authorities said.