Home Breaking News Ferguson grand jury decision: Protests spread from New York to Seattle

Ferguson grand jury decision: Protests spread from New York to Seattle

Ferguson protests have spread across the US after the grand jury’s decision not to charge white policeman Darren Wilson who shot black teenager Michael Brown.

Demonstrations from New York to Seattle were mostly peaceful but rioting broke out in Oakland, California.

There was some unrest in Ferguson itself, with police making 44 arrests, but the town did not see rioting on the scale of Monday night.

Officer Darren Wilson says he has a “clean conscience”.

Darren Wilson, who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9, told ABC News that in the struggle which preceded the shooting, he had felt “like a five-year-old holding on to [US wrestler] Hulk Hogan”.

Many in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American community had called for Darren Wilson to be charged with murder, but the grand jury’s decision means the police officer will not face state criminal charges over the shooting.

Lawyers for Michael Brown’s family denounced the grand jury’s decision as “unfair” while condemning the violence that followed the decision.

St Louis County police chief Jon Belmar said November 25 had been “generally a much better night” in Ferguson, a town of 21,000 people.

Tear gas was fired just once, he said, when rioters smashed windows at the Ferguson town hall. There was only one report of shooting, he added, when a car was set alight.

Some 2,200 National Guard soldiers were deployed to assist police in keeping order in and around the town.

Protests were reported in 12 cities: St Louis itself as well as Seattle, Albuquerque, New York, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Oakland, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Portland, Chicago and Boston.

In Oakland, in the San Francisco Bay area, rioters vandalized police cars and businesses in the centre during a second night of unrest in the port city of 406,000 people.

Looting was reported in several locations, including a classic car dealership and a mobile phone store, while a main road was briefly blocked, the US broadcaster CBS reports.

Speaking from Chicago on November 25, President Barack Obama said there was “no excuse” for destructive behavior and criminal acts of rioting, adding that those responsible should be prosecuted.

The frustration seen by the grand jury’s decision, the president said, had “deep roots in many communities of color who have a sense that our laws are not being enforced uniformly or fairly”.

Barack Obama said he had ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to look at what steps could be taken to build trust in communities and make sure that “law enforcement is fair”.

Much of the debate since August has centered on whether Michael Brown was attempting to surrender to Darren Wilson when he was shot.

Speaking to ABC News in his first public comments, Darren Wilson said there was nothing he could have done differently.

“The reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right,” he said.

Darren Wilson denied witness statements that Michael Brown had put his hands up, insisting race had played no part in the confrontation.

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