Last night the city of Ferguson, Missouri descended into chaos following the announcement that the police officer who shot dead the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown will not face indictment.
The decision regarding officer Darren Wilson’s fate was made by a grand jury, which had “every scrap of evidence” presented before it came to a verdict.
Prosecutor Bob McCulloch laid out that evidence when he declared the jury’s decision at 8pm last night – with that press conference almost immediately followed by the start of protests, some violent, around the US.
Nowhere were the displays of anger more potent than in Ferguson itself, where 18-year-old Brown was killed on 9 August this year.
This is the story of what happened that day, starting from 11.45am, according to McCulloch and the evidence heard by the jury. It begins with Wilson, in his SUV, hearing dispatches describing a black male wearing a red hat, khaki shorts and yellow socks and accompanied by another male who had “strong-armed” a nearby shop to steal cigarillos.
Wilson encounters Brown and Johnson
As Wilson drove west on Canfield Drive, he passed Brown and friend Dorian Johnson walking east down the middle of the street.
He tells the pair to get off the road
As Wilson reached the pair, he told them to move to the sidewalk. Words were exchanged, and they continued walking down the middle of the street. As they passed, he noticed that Brown was wearing a red hat and yellow socks and had cigarillos in his hand.
Wilson blocks the street; a 'tussle' ensues
Wilson radioed for support. He backed his vehicle up at an angle, blocking Brown and Johnson’s path as well as blocking car traffic in both directions. Many witnesses reported an altercation — “tussling, wrestling, tug of war” — between Wilson and Brown while Brown was at the car’s window and Wilson was seated inside.
Witnesses say Brown punched Wilson
Witnesses gave conflicting statements on what happened next – some said that Brown punched Wilson, or that Brown was partially inside the car, or that no part of Brown was in the car, or that Wilson fired at Brown from inside the car. Wilson was later found to have redness and swelling on his face.
Wilson's gun fires twice
Two shots were fired inside the car. One bullet struck the door’s arm rest, and one was never found. An injury to Brown’s right thumb was probably caused by one of these because an autopsy found soot in the wound. Brown’s blood and/or DNA was found in the car, on the outside of the driver’s-side door, on the left rear door and on Wilson’s clothing and gun.
Almost all witnesses said Brown hesitated after the shots were fired, then fled east on Canfield.
Wilson got out of his SUV and chased Brown eastward.
Some witnesses say Wilson fires at Brown
Some witnesses said Wilson began firing as Brown walked or ran away.
Brown stops, turns around
At the corner of Copper Creek and Canfield Brown stopped and turned back toward Wilson, facing west. Wilson stopped as well. Some witnesses said Wilson didn’t fire until Brown turned around.
Brown moves toward Wilson
Brown moved west toward Wilson. Again, witness accounts differed. Some said Brown didn’t move toward Wilson but stood with his hands raised. Several said he didn’t raise his hands, raised them briefly, or held his stomach. Some said he stumbled toward Wilson; others said he moved quickly or “charged.”
Wilson shoots at Brown
Some said Wilson stopped firing when Brown stopped moving towards him and resumed firing when Brown moved toward him again. The sound of shots captured by a person video-chatting in a nearby apartment indicated two sets of shots with a gap in the middle.
Wilson fired several more rounds, killing Brown. Three autopsies agreed that seven or eight bullets hit Brown, all from the front. Three bullets hit while he was either falling or bent at the waist toward Wilson, including what was likely the fatal shot to the top of his head. Brown’s blood was found 25 feet farther east on Canfield than where his body lay, 153 feet from Wilson’s SUV.
In pictures: New Ferguson unrest
In pictures: New Ferguson unrest
1/39 Ferguson protest
A demonstrator sits in front of a street fire during a demonstration following the grand jury decision in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown, in Oakland. The grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer over the fatal August shooting of an unarmed black teenager
2/39 Ferguson protest
A demonstrator holds a protest sign in Oakland after the announcement of the grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old
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Police in riot gear tangle with a woman in front of emergency vehicles in Ferguson Missouri
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Police fire tear gas at protesters in Ferguson
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A protester holding a flare runs on Highway 580 during a demonstration following the grand jury decision in Ferguson
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Men try to stop protesters from throwing rocks at local businesses after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson
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Protestors stand and kneel in the street as police advance on them in Ferguson
8/39 Ferguson protest
A protester burns an American flag on Highway 580 during a demonstration following the grand jury decision in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown, in Oakland
9/39 Ferguson protest
Riot policemen clash with protesters in Ferguson
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A man walks past a burning building during rioting after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson
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Michael Brown's mother Leslie McSpadden (C) and other protesters react after hearing the grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of her son in Ferguson
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Dante Kaleo holds a protest sign while marching on Interstate 580 in Oakland
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People lay on the ground on Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Blvd during a demonstration in Beverly Hills, following the grand jury decision in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson
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A gas station burns as demonstrators protest the Grand Jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson over the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson
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A woman treats her face for possible tear gas exposure in Ferguson Missouri
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Protestors parade in the parking lot of a burning auto parts store in Ferguson
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Police grab a protester during a demonstration in Oakland
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Protesters block Interstate 580 in Oakland
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Cars burn at a dealership in Dellwood
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A woman gets water poured on her face after police pepper sprayed demonstrators attempting to stop traffic on Interstate 5 following the grand jury decision in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown, in Seattle
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A police vehicle passes a business set ablaze by protestors in Ferguson
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People walk away from a warehouse in flames after the grand jury's decision
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A building burns opposite Canfield Drive, the street where Michael Brown was shot
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Demonstrators flee as police fire tear gas during a demonstration to protest the death 18-year-old Michael Brown
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A police car burns in Ferguson, Missouri
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A group of people raise their arms while chanting "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" during a protest
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Police officers confront protesters after the announcement of the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson
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A group of protesters vandalize a police vehicle
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Protesters vandalize a police car outside the Ferguson Police Department
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A woman approaches the barricade to confront the police outside the Ferguson Police Department
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A protester stands with his hands on his head as a cloud of tear gas approaches after a grand jury returned no indictment
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St. Louis County police officers stand guard in front of the Ferguson police department
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Protesters gather in front of the Ferguson Police Department before the announcement of the grand jury decision
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People embrace at the memorial location for Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri,
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A police officer secures an area around the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton, Missouri where a grand jury is considering whether to indict a white Ferguson police officer who shot and killed an 18-year-old black teenager, Michael Brown.
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
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Police rush in to break up protesters outside the Ferguson Police Station in Ferguson, Missouri
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Michael Brown's family attorney Anthony Gray (L) speaks during an announcement for Justice Disciple volunteers
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A makeshift memorial on the street in Ferguson where Michael Brown died
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Demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, mount a protest ahead of the grand jury’s decision. Such protests have been ongoing in the city since 18-year-old Michael Brown’s killing
(C) Washington Post
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