One unmistakable truth erupting from the police shooting of Michael Brown last year in Ferguson, Mo., is the unpredictable, ongoing and unprecedented amount of street protests and marches it has generated in the St. Louis suburb and elsewhere.
That’s unlikely to subside with news accounts Thursday that the Justice Department has decided not to pursue civil rights charges against Darren Wilson based on the FBI finding no supporting evidence for a court case. Wilson was the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot unarmed 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9. Wilson resigned in November after the state grand jury declined to file charges against him.
The homicide and the grand jury decision that came about four months afterward initially caused unrest in Ferguson with some looting, buildings being burned, clashes with police and people being arrested. Protests have remained a mainstay in Ferguson, St. Louis and other cities with people chanting, “black lives matter.” Brown was black; Wilson is white.
A larger Justice Department civil rights investigation of the Ferguson Police Department continues, involving racial profiling and excessive use of force. What remains unclear is when the Justice Department plans to release its report, declining to pursue civil rights charges against Wilson.
The preliminary announcement helps take the sting out of the formal Justice Department report, which many Brown family supporters had hoped would turn out differently. In all likelihood, protests will continue because racial profiling remains a problem, black men and boys continue to die and people of color keep having to contend with aggressive police actions.
It didn’t help that it took action from the city council in North Miami Beach, Fla., on Tuesday to stop police from using mug shots of black men for target practice. That only came to light after a National Guard member last month found a photo of her brother riddled with bullet holes in a trash can.