- Image 1 of 2
- Image 2 of 2
ST. LOUIS – Thanksgiving started quietly in Ferguson, following protests Wednesday night that drew the smallest crowd since a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer in the death of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old.
Community members decorated boarded-up windows Thursday, and some went to a church service where prayers were said for the family members of Brown and Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson officer who shot the unarmed Brown during a struggle Aug. 9.
Meanwhile, a few cars drove through downtown St. Louis on Thursday morning for what the organizer called a "pro-community" car cruise. Paul Byrd would not specifically say whether he supported Wilson, but he noted he supports the job of police officers, adding, "Those causing the trouble are making a bad name for everyone."
Dozens protested Wednesday night outside the Ferguson Police Department, but there were no major confrontations with the Guard troops standing watch. St. Louis County police said there were only two arrests — fewer than earlier in the week as buildings were set on fire and vandalized.
Some demonstrations across the country weren't as subdued as in Ferguson. At least 130 people who refused to disperse during a Los Angeles protest were arrested Wednesday night, while 35 people were detained in Oakland, California, following a march that deteriorated into unrest and vandalism.
THE BEGINNING: Wilson shot and killed Brown shortly after noon in the middle of the street after a scuffle. Brown's body lay there for hours as police investigated and a crowd of angry onlookers gathered. Several days of tense protests in the predominantly black community followed, prompting Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to call in the National Guard. McCulloch decided to present the case to a grand jury.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT: Made up of nine white people and three black people, the grand jury met 25 days over three months, and heard more than 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses. McCulloch held a news conference Monday night to reveal the decision.
THE DOCUMENTS: More than 1,000 pages of grand jury documents were released Monday, including Wilson's full testimony in which he described the scuffle in his patrol car and recognizing the cigars in Brown's hand as possibly being connected to a report of a convenience store robbery. Wilson also said that Brown approached him: "And when he gets about ... 8 to 10 feet away ... all I see is his head and that's what I shot."
THE FINAL SAY? The U.S. Justice Department has its own investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges for Wilson, but investigators would need to satisfy a rigorous standard of proof. The department also has launched a broad probe into the Ferguson Police Department.