#JusticeForMichaelBrown: Renewed Calls For Justice in Ferguson From Community Leaders & Michael Brown’s Family
FERGUSON, Mo. — Community activists and local clergy on Tuesday renewed calls for the arrest of the officer who fatally shot an unarmed teen, in a case that set off days of riots and violence in this St. Louis suburb.
The parents of Michael Brown, the slain 18-year-old, stood with members of the Ferguson chapter of the National Action Network, the family’s attorney and local clergy at a news conference outside the Ferguson Police Department to echo the earlier demands by the Rev. Al Sharpton that Officer Darren Wilson be arrested and indicted.
Representatives of the groups said Wilson should be arrested, charged, photographed and indicted based on new witness statements and evidence in the case. They are calling for the St. Louis County Police Department to make the arrest because they took over the investigation from the Ferguson police.
"We believe there is enough evidence to arrest Officer Darren Wilson," said the Rev. Carlton Lee, NAN chapter president. "If probable cause is enough to arrest civilians, then it is enough to arrest police officers.
"We’re wondering why Darren Wilson has been granted immunity. He is a criminal. He killed an 18-year-old, college-bound, unarmed young man."
Brown was unarmed when Wilson, 28, shot him on a street Aug. 9. Witnesses in the area said Brown had raised his hands to surrender when he was shot. The shooting and police response drew racially charged protests that have sometimes turned violent.
Anthony Gray, the Brown family’s attorney, said based on the accounts of six witnesses, who said Brown had his hands raised before Wilson shot him, the officer should be indicted.
"With the overwhelming weight of the evidence, that step should not be skipped," Gray said.
Adolphus Pruitt, NAACP St. Louis County Branch president, said requests for the arrest of an officer in the shooting of an unarmed civilian is not unprecedented. He pointed to a USA TODAY report that indicated that nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012.
"This time it is not going to be status quo," Pruitt said. "We insist that the prosecutor does what he should do. We are not going to be satisfied with a non-indictment."
Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., did not speak at the news conference but Lee said their presence reflects their agreement with the calls for Wilson’s arrest.
"The parents have asked for this arrest since Day One," he said.
Keep talking about this. It is still real. It is still relevant.