DOJ clears Ferguson cop Darren Wilson

The Justice Department has cleared a Ferguson, Mo., police officer of civil rights violations in the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager whose death set off racially charged and sometimes violent protests last year.

The decision, which was announced on Wednesday, ends a lengthy investigation into the shooting last August, in which Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Mr. Brown in the street. Many witnesses said Mr. Brown had his hands up in surrender when he died, leading to nationwide protest chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

But federal agents and civil rights prosecutors rejected that story, just as a state grand jury did in November. The Justice Department said forensic evidence and other witnesses backed up the account of Officer Wilson, who said Mr. Brown fought with him, reached for his gun, then charged at him. He told investigators that he feared for his life.

“There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson’s stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety,” the report said.

The report found that witnesses who claimed that Mr. Brown was surrendering were not credible. “Some of those accounts are inaccurate because they are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence; some of those accounts are materially inconsistent with that witnesses’ own prior statements with no explanation,” it said.

“Although some witnesses state that Brown held his hands up at shoulder level with his palms facing outward for a brief moment, these same witnesses describe Brown then dropping his hands and ‘charging’ at Wilson,” it added.

“Those witness accounts stating that Brown never moved back toward Wilson could not be relied upon in a prosecution because their accounts cannot be reconciled with the DNA bloodstain evidence and other credible witness accounts.”

By MATT APUZZO – New York Times –

Melee halts St. Louis City Hall meeting on civilian oversight of police

Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis police union, got into a shouting match with meeting chairman Terry Kennedy on Wednesday and then touched off a melee by shoving a woman at City Hall. A packed house gathered to discuss a bill that would form a civilian-run police oversight board.

See video.

A St. Louis City Hall meeting exploring the creation of a civilian-run police oversight board was halted Wednesday night when a melee erupted, highlighting the still simmering tensions exposed when an unarmed black Ferguson, Mo., teen was shot dead by a white cop last August.

The crowd grew testy an hour into the public forum as police officers spoke in opposition to the bill and former state Rep. Jeff Roorda, who doubles as the business manager of the city’s police union, got into a shouting match with meeting chairman Alderman Terry Kennedy, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Witnesses say the a shoving match began after Roorda — who was reportedly wearing a wristband in support of Darren Wilson, the ex-cop who shot Michael Brown — pushed a black woman in the aisle of the packed hall.

“You white supremacist motherf—–. Get the f— out of here, man,” someone can be heard shouting at Roorda in a video that captures the meeting-stopping push.

Former state Rep. Jeff Roorda, who doubles as the business manager of the city’s police union, is seen pushing a woman in the middle of a St. Louis City Hall meeting.

“I was literally just trying to leave the meeting and I got caught in whatever Roorda and Kennedy had going on in their exchange,” Cachet Currie, the woman who was pushed, told KMOV.

“Roorda just jumped out into the aisle, pushed me over, and tried to get to Kennedy. I’m like ‘wait a minute, don’t push me.’ Then he started going off on me, pushing me.”

Currie suffered a scatch on her forehead she said came from Roorda….

No arrests were made.

BY Jason Molinet – NEW YORK DAILY NEWS –

Darren Wilson Resigns From Ferguson Police Dept.

The Missouri cop who killed unarmed teen Michael Brown has resigned from the Ferguson police force, his lawyer confirmed Saturday.

Darren Wilson, 28, turned in his badge five days after a grand jury decided not to indict him in the Aug. 9 slaying of 18-year-old Brown.

“I’m resigning of my own free will,” Wilson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’m not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me.”

He said leaving the force was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

BY Nicole Hensley,Rich Schapiro,Deborah Hastings,& Thomas Tracy –
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS –

CNN And MSNBC Reporters Get Gassed, Shot At In Ferguson

News anchors found themselves uncomfortably close to the action during live broadcasts of rioting in Ferguson, Missouri last night, as a CNN reporter was filmed being struck on the head with a rock, two of her colleagues choked on tear gas, and an MSNBC anchor was forced off air by gunfire.

While reporting on the angry crowds outside a burning car dealership on Florrissant Avenue, CNN’s Sara Sidner managed to keep composed despite being struck by a projectile thrown from behind.

Meanwhile her colleagues Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo were also both reporting on the protests when a tear gas canister was fired or lobbed into the crowd they were standing with. As Lemon ducked and looked prepared to flee, Cuomo was handed the microphone and continued the report.

Lemon later reappeared on camera wearing a gas mask over his face, but was unable to continue reporting and was heard asking for water

A short time later MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes was forced to cut short a live broadcast and run for cover as gunshots rung out around him.

Ferguson descended into lawlessness, chaos and fire overnight after a grand jury decided not to prosecute police Officer Darren Wilson over the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown….

By John Hall and Pete D’amato – MailOnline.com –

Massive Ferguson Rioting, Looting, Violence

Looting and violence has broken out in Ferguson in the wake of the decision not to indict Darren Wilson. Jake Tapper reported that people tried to smash in windows with bricks and police have fired tear gas to disperse crowds. Don Lemon is reporting people throwing bottles and confronting police.

By Aurelius – The Pundit Press –

Ferguson businesses torched in overnight protests

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Smoke billowed from burned-out buildings and sidewalks were strewn with broken glass Tuesday morning after Ferguson erupted over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the killing of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Firefighters were dousing the blackened remains of some businesses and at least one was still ablaze. Some Ferguson stores that weren’t burned had smashed display windows, but the streets of the St. Louis suburb were mostly clear.

Monday night’s protests were far more destructive than any of those that followed Brown’s Aug. 9 death, with more than a dozen businesses badly damaged or destroyed. Authorities reported hearing hundreds of gunshots, which for a time prevented fire crews from fighting the flames.

There were 61 arrests in Ferguson overnight, many for burglary and trespassing, St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman said. There were 21 arrests in St. Louis, where protesters broke some store windows along South Grand Avenue, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said.

Jon Belmar, chief of the St. Louis County police, said that unless his agency could bring in 10,000 officers, “I don’t think we can prevent folks who really are intent on destroying a community.”

At least eight people were injured during the overnight protests, including two people who were admitted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries. That hospital treated and released five people and Saint Louis University Hospital treated and released another. Several other hospitals didn’t immediately respond to phone messages and emails seeking comment….

By JIM SALTER and DAVID A. LIEB – Associated Press –