New photographs of the police officer who shot dead Michael Brown have been released, purporting to show his injuries after the shooting.
Protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, last night, after it was announced that Darren Wilson, who is white, would not be charged for killing the black unarmed teenager on 9 August.
The images, which were shown to the grand jury as evidence, showed some redness and swelling on his face and neck. According to a medical report, doctors diagnosed Wilson with a facial contusion.
Wilson, who hasn’t been seen publicly since the shooting, has always maintained that he shot Brown in self-defence - but lawyers for Brown’s family argued that the 18-year-old was attempting to surrender when he was killed.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch stressed that the grand jurors, who had met weekly since 20 August, were “the only people who heard every witness... and every piece of evidence.” He said many witnesses presented conflicting statements that ultimately were inconsistent with the physical evidence. The panel heard more than 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses, including three medical examiners and experts on blood, toxicology and firearms.
The photographs came as it was revealed Wilson, 28, had written a letter of thanks to his “supporters”, which was released to KSDK-TV in St. Louis following the verdict.
It stated: “I would like to thank you all for standing up for me during this stressful time. Your support and dedication is amazing and it is still hard to believe that all of these people that I have never met are doing so much for me.”
He called his “supporters” “simply amazing” and expressed the wish to “personally thank you for all of your continued support”, but said he was unable to do so due to concerns for the safety of himself and his family.
Wilson added: “Please don't give this letter to any media or post it where they can see it. Relay the message of thanks to all and keep this letter private until the investigation is complete.”
He concluded: “Also please keep my family in blue in your hearts and prayers, they have all made a sacrifice to their own lives in order to work the excessive hours through the heat and rain to ensure that the riots and protests in Ferguson were as safe as they could be.”
Obama said Monday night from the White House that Americans need to accept the grand jury's decision.
“We are a nation built on the rule of law, so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury's to make,” Obama said. He said it was understandable that some Americans would be “deeply disappointed — even angered,” but echoed Brown's parents in calling for any protests to be peaceful.
Under Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder, the Justice Department is conducting a separate investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges against Wilson. The department also has launched a broad probe into the Ferguson Police Department, looking for patterns of discrimination.
At least a dozen buildings were set on fire in Ferguson, Missouri, most of them destroyed, in a wave of civil unrest following a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in August, police said on Tuesday.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar also said he personally had heard about 150 gunshots fired during a night of looting, arson and clashes between demonstrators and police that resulted in at least 29 people arrested.
Although no serious injuries have been reported, he said the disturbances Monday night and early Tuesday morning were “much worse” than the unrest that erupted in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
Full transcript of Darren Wilson’s letter
To all of the pro Officer Wilson Supporters -
I would like to thank you all for standing up for me during this stressful time. Your support and dedication is amazing and it is still hard to believe that all of these people that I have never met are doing so much for me. I watched the CNN video we recorded at the rally on Saturday and it brought tears to my eyes.
All of you are simply amazing, and I don't know how to thank you all enough. I wish I could attend meet you, hug you, and personally thank you for all of your continued support, however, due to my and my families safety I am unable to. Please don't give this letter to any media or post it where they can see it. Relay the message of thanks to all and keep this letter private until the investigation is complete.
I want you all to know that I do get updates on the amount of support. Unfortunately, I don't get to see all of the comments made through social media, but overall messages are relayed to me.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and know that I would do the same for any of you.
Also please keep my family in blue in your hearts and prayers, they have all made a sacrifice to their own lives in order to work the excessive hours through the heat and rain to ensure that the riots and protests in Ferguson were as safe as they could be.
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