BlackFacts Details

Shooting of Michael Brown

For the protests that followed the shooting of Michael Brown, see Ferguson unrest.

The shooting of Michael Brown occurred on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, a northern suburb of St. Louis. Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a white Ferguson police officer, after Brown reportedly robbed a convenience store.[2] An altercation ensued with Brown and Wilson struggling through the window of the police vehicle for control of Wilsons gun until it was fired.[3] Brown and Dorian Johnson then fled, with Wilson in pursuit of Brown. In the entire altercation, Wilson fired a total of twelve bullets;[4] the last was probably the fatal shot.[5] [6] [7]

The shooting sparked unrest in Ferguson. The hands up account was widely circulated within the black community immediately after the shooting and it contributed to the strong protests and outrage about the killing of the unarmed man. The U.S. Department of Justice concluded the hands up account was inaccurate months later.[8] Believing accounts that Brown had his hands up in surrender when he was shot, protesters chanted, Hands up, dont shoot. Protests, both peaceful and violent, along with vandalism and looting, continued for more than a week in Ferguson; police established a nightly curfew. The response of area police agencies in dealing with the protests was strongly criticized by the media and politicians. There were concerns over insensitivity, tactics, and a militarized response. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered local police organizations to cede much of their authority to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

A grand jury was called and given extensive evidence from Robert McCulloch, the St. Louis County Prosecutor. On November 24, 2014, McCulloch announced the St. Louis County grand jury had decided not to indict Wilson.[9] On March 4, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice reported the conclusion of its own investigation and cleared Wilson of civil rights violations in the shooting. It found forensic evidence supported