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Michael Brown’s Family Challenges Decision, Looks Toward Future

At a press conference in 2014, Benjamin Crump (at podium) stated Michael Brown Jr's family will move forward after learning former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted for the killing of Brown.
File Photo | Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Attorneys for Michael Brown’s parents say they’re focusing on their next steps, after a grand jury did not indict police officer Darren Wilson for killing their son.

The attorneys, and the Reverend Al Sharpton, spoke at a news conference Tuesday about the need to "keep up the fight", and change the structure they say allowed the grand jury decision. The news conference was billed as a chance to hear from Brown’s parents, Leslie McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. But McSpadden wasn’t there and Brown, Sr., didn’t speak.

Still, Sharpton and family attorney Benjamin Crump had plenty to say. Crump implored everyone in the U.S. to try and make a difference in the lives of African-American children.

“And especially for Michael Brown, Jr. , who is crying out from the grave with so many thousands of other people of color who have been killed by police, saying, 'You all have to change this system,'” Crump said.

Questioning Decision, Condemning Violence

The attorneys said Brown’s parents are challenging the validity of the grand jury's decision and the investigation conducted by St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

Crump charged that the justice system has failed.

“We object publicly and as loudly as we can on behalf of the Michael Brown’s family that this process is broken,” Crump said.

Crump adds the testimony of Darren Wilson and others warranted cross-examination to challenge their veracity.

“A first year law student could have done a better job,” he said.

The Brown family and attorneys also condemned the violence and looting that erupted after Monday night's grand jury decision.

At the news conference, Sharpton said he’s concentrating on a long-range plan that involves a separate, federal investigation. He compared the Wilson grand jury decision to an initial verdict in favor of police officers in the 1991 beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, that was followed by a different decision at the federal level.

“There is a legacy in the civil rights movement that we’ve always had to go to the federal government,” Sharpton said.

Still referencing the King case and others, Sharpton had a message for McCulloch that the fight’s not over yet. “”It’s not our first rodeo, McCulloch,” Sharpton said.

Follow Nancy Fowler on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.