By Saba Partovi
A steady rain dampened an already gloomy Ferguson, Missouri on Monday, November 24.
It had been four months after the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown and most of America was anxious for the grand jury’s decision on whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson, 28, who had fatally shot Brown in August.
After several months of deliberation, the grand jury decided not to indict Officer Wilson at 11:00 p.m. eastern time.
The grand jury, whose job was to decide if Officer Wilson is guilty of the crime or not, spent approximately seven hours on November 21 before reconvening on Monday, November 24.
Ever since the initial shooting on August 8, the city of Ferguson has been knee-deep in chaotic riots. Brown’s death prompted weeks of demonstrations and a response from the police that included tear gas and rubber bullets.
Confrontations between protesters and law enforcement officers continued even after Governor Jay Nixon deployed the Missouri National Guard to help stop the unrest.
“Everyone’s on edge. There’s a lot of anxiety” Cipriano Medina, a 39-year-old architect who was visiting friends in Ferguson said in an interview with CNN.
Much of the protest in Ferguson centers on law enforcement.
In addition to focusing on criminal justice racism, protesters have complained about the shooting investigation itself, and have alleged that police have been heavy-handed and provocative during demonstrations.
“We are not indicting a man. We are indicting a system,” Malcom London, a leader in the Black Youth 100, which has been organizing Chicago protests, said to a crowd of 200 people gathered near the Magnificent Mile shopping district in Chicago.
In order to make their voices heard, protesters fill the streets of Ferguson and also other large cities such as Boston and Los Angeles to show their resentment towards the justice system.
According to CNN, some clashes with police have turned violent and at least 155 arrests have been made before the grand jury’s decision and about 61 other arrests after that.
Authorities, community leaders, political activists and Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., have all called for peace after the violence became so rampant around the country.
On Friday, November 21, President Barack Obama added his voice in the appeal to stop the rioting.
“This is a country that allows everybody to express their views, allows them to peacefully assemble, to protest actions that they think are unjust. But using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to rule of law and contrary to who we are,” Obama told ABC News in an interview broadcast on November 21.
Despite the president’s pleas, however, unrest still continued after the jury’s decision.
Security had been increased ahead of the decision, with Missouri mayor calling a state of emergency on November 17.
National Guard troops and extra Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were called to Ferguson the night of the indictment decision.
A dozen buildings were burned down and there was constant gunfire, looting, vandalism, and destruction throughout cities.
In any case, whether Wilson is guilty or not, law enforcement in Ferguson is positive that the protests over racial justice will not end anytime soon.
Wilson resigned five days after the grand jury decision, wishing to protect the safety of fellow officers in the Ferguson Police Department.