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Ferguson officer not charged in death of Michael Brown

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The decision of the grand jury to clear Officer Darren Wilson of charges in the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, was announced shortly after 8 p.m. Monday.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch made the announcement Monday night.

After the autopsy of Michael Brown was released, no additional witnesses came forward to say Brown was shot in the back as he ran, and "several witnesses" who claimed this version adjusted their story in subsequent statements, McCulloch said.

During the altercation between Michael Brown and Wilson, two shots were fired while Wilson was inside his vehicle, McCulloch said. Brown ran, and Wilson gave chase, he said. Both stopped, and when Brown moved toward the officer, Wilson fired "several more shots," fatally wounding Brown, McCulloch said.

The grand jurors are "the only ones who have heard all the evidence," McCulloch said. After an "exhaustive review," the jurors deliberated for two days, he said.

"The physical and scientific evidence examined by the grand jury, combined with the witness statements, supported and substantiated by that physical evidence, tells the accurate and tragic story of what happened," McCulloch said before offering a synopsis of the testimony.

Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson first made contact with Michael Brown when the officer encounter Brown and a friend in the middle of the street, McCulloch said. "Words were exchanged," the prosecutor said, and an altercation took place at the police car with Wilson seated in the car and Brown standing at the driver's window, he said.

The family of Michael Brown said they are "profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions," following McCulloch's announcement that Wilson will not be charged in the teen's death. "While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change," the family said in a statement. "We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen." The family made a call for police officers across the country to wear body cameras. The statement closed: "Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference."

Whatever the grand jury in the Ferguson case has decided, "people on all sides (should) show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said at press conference hours before the announcement was made.

The residents of St. Louis County should "think with their heads and not with emotion" after the grand jury's decision on whether to indict Wilson is announced, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said at the same press conference. 

"I do not want people in this community to think they have to barricade their doors and take up arms. We are not that kind of community. I do not want people to accidentally shoot or harm someone out of fear," Dooley said.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said protesters will be protected to peacefully demonstrate but that damage to property will not be tolerated. 

"What happened to Michael Brown has deeply divided us," Slay said. "Whatever is announced this evening, some people are going to be angry and frustrated."