The Rev. Al Sharpton on his reaction to the St. Louis grand jury and working with the families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Akai Gurley.Two days after a grand jury refused to indict Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Brown’s parents appeared with the Rev. Al Sharpton at the Harlem headquarters of National Action Network, the civil rights organization founded by Sharpton in 1991. They remain determined to keep the legacy of their son alive.
Sharpton, whom the family asked to come to Ferguson in the days after Brown was killed, has used his platform to keep the shooting in the national spotlight. He recently talked to The Root about his reaction to the grand jury’s decision, as well as the personal relationship he’s developed with the Brown family over the past few months.
The Root: It appears that you may have already expected that the jury would refuse to indict Officer Darren Wilson. Is that right?
Al Sharpton: I always felt that the jury would come back with a “no bill,” and I said that from day one. I told the family that with police cases—because of the symbiotic relationship between local police and local prosecutors—it is very rare that you get a fair local prosecutor. What I had no expectation of is that the prosecutor would release the findings at night and have a detailed attack on the character of Michael Brown.
TR: How do you make sense of the public outrage that so many people feel at the decision not to indict Officer Wilson and the subsequent rioting that took place after the grand jury’s decision was announced?
AS: I think a lot of it is despair and a lot of it is hopelessness. I also think it was exacerbated by a frontal attack by the prosecutor on the victim and the witnesses and a full-court defense of the accused. If the evidence is what the prosecutor says, then why is it necessary to disparage the deceased, who couldn’t speak for himself?
Source: The Root | JAMAL WATSON