US & Canada

Ferguson shooting: Michael Brown ruling denounced as 'unfair'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAl Sharpton said the Brown family and rights campaigners would continue their "fight for accountability"

Lawyers for the family of US teenager Michael Brown have denounced the process that cleared the police officer who killed the 18-year-old as "unfair".

Attorney Benjamin Crump said the process was "broken" a day after a grand jury opted not to send white police officer Darren Wilson to trial.

Mr Brown was killed on 9 August in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking unrest.

State governor Jay Nixon says more than 2,200 National Guardsmen will be around the St Louis suburb on Tuesday.

There were about 700 Guardsmen on the streets on Monday night but they could not stop more than a dozen buildings being set alight.

A police chief said the violence that followed the grand jury ruling was worse than any Ferguson had seen.

More than 80 people were arrested amid riots across several areas of St Louis. Sixty-one of those arrests were in Ferguson, with charges including burglary and trespassing.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBenjamin Crump: "We could foresee what the outcome was going to be"

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, who attended a news conference with Mr Brown's family, criticised the prosecutor's decision to announce the verdict late at night on Monday, saying it was "irresponsible".

Mr Sharpton said the jury had "broken our hearts" but he vowed to continue "to fight for a new level of accountability of policing in this country".

'Michael Brown law'

Violent protests were not in the spirit of Michael Brown, Mr Sharpton added, saying the young man would not "be remembered for the ashes of buildings burning in Ferguson".

Instead, he said Mr Brown's family would push for new legislation to protect citizens and support a "Michael Brown law" that required all police officers to wear body video cameras.

At the scene: Joanna Jolly, BBC News, Ferguson

The sun's shining this morning on South Florissant, which saw some of the most violent demonstrations outside the Ferguson Police Department last night.

Local residents have been up since the early hours cleaning up the streets. Shopkeepers are boarding up shops. A small group of protesters is yelling at half a dozen police standing outside the department.

A group of residents is standing outside a beauty parlour which was looted last night. Its windows have been smashed in and they're hoping to stop anyone else coming in and looting.

"We're trying to come together and get past this", says Judy. Everyone's expecting more demonstrations tonight.

"They let our town burn," says Anastasia Knowles. "They sacrificed us for Clayton," she says referring to the choice to deploy the state national guard there and not in Ferguson.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cars were set on fire during protests in Dellwood, an area of St Louis close to Ferguson, overnight
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many residents and business owners took to the streets early on Tuesday to begin the clean-up

Many in Ferguson's predominantly African-American community had called for Mr Wilson to be charged with murder, but a Missouri grand jury - of nine white and three black members - made no recommendation of charges.

Lawyers for the Brown family criticised the decision to call a grand jury rather than appointing a special prosecutor and accused state prosecutor Robert McCulloch of seeking to "discredit the victim".

"We could see what the outcome was going to be and that is what occurred last night," Mr Crump told reporters, adding: "This process is broken. This process should be indicted."

Wrongful-death lawsuit?

Much of the debate since August has centred on whether Michael Brown was attempting to surrender to Darren Wilson when he was shot, but Mr McCulloch said physical evidence had contradicted some of the witness statements.

The jury was made up of 12 randomly picked citizens from the state of Missouri. At least nine votes were needed in order to issue an indictment.

Mr Brown's family could yet file a wrongful-death lawsuit against Mr Wilson, who is currently on paid leave.

Related Topics