Father of slain teen urges calm in US town of Ferguson
FERGUSON, USA – The father of a black teen whose fatal shooting in a US town sparked weeks of unrest has called for calm as a decision loomed about possible charges against the police officer involved.
The August 9 death led to weeks of violence in the Missouri town, and the governor this week declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard ahead of a decision on charges.
In a one-minute video, Brown's father delivered a somber plea for a peaceful response to the grand jury decision.
"Thank you for lifting your voices to end racial profiling and police intimidation, but hurting others or destroying property is not the answer," said Michael Brown Sr., on a local government website.
"No matter what the grand jury decides, I don't want my son's death to be in vain," he added.
In the United States, grand juries meet in secret to review some cases before deciding whether criminal charges should be brought.
The jury could indict Wilson, meaning he could face trial, or determine there is no case for him to answer.
Authorities have previously said they expect the grand jury decision any time between mid- to late-November.
"We live here together, this is our home," Brown's father added.
"We're stronger united. Continue to lift your voices with us and let's work together to heal, to create lasting change for all people regardless of race."
Planning for announcement
On Friday, November 21, St Louis County prosecutors indicated that an announcement could be imminent.
"We are in the process of setting up the press conference to announce the decision on the Darren Wilson case," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.
"The date, time and location hasn't been decided as of yet. The grand jury is still in session."
Also Friday, US Attorney General Eric Holder also released a video urging both law enforcement officials and the public to show restraint at demonstrations.
"Over the past few months we have seen demonstrations and protests that have sought to bring attention to real and significant underlying issues involving police practices, implicit bias and pervasive community distrust," Holder said.
"It is vital to engage in planning and preparation, from evaluating protocols and training to choosing the appropriate equipment and uniforms," he said.
"This is the hard work that is necessary to preserve the peace and maintain the public trust at all times, particularly in moments of heightened community tension."
The shooting led to weeks of violence in the St. Louis suburb of 21,000, which has an African-American majority and an overwhelmingly white police department and town government. (READ: UN watchdog tells US to curb police racism)
Brown, a high-school graduate looking forward to attending technical college, was shot at least 6 times by Wilson and his body left in the street.
Wilson has reportedly told the grand jury he acted in self-defense after tussling with the youth. Others claim Brown had his hands in the air when he was shot.
Some demonstrators complained that police used undue force during peaceful protests and there was widespread criticism of the military-style equipment and uniforms deployed by local officers. – Rappler.com