A glance at developments in Ferguson

AP News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2014 1:34 AM
A glance at developments in Ferguson

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown resigned Saturday from the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, where protests continued but were far more muted than the violence sparked by a grand jury's decision not to indict the officer earlier in the week.

Here's a look at the latest developments:

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OFFICER'S RESIGNATION

An attorney for Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who killed Brown, said Saturday that Wilson had resigned effective immediately. Wilson told the St. Louis Dispatch he decided to step down after the police department received threats of violence if he stayed on the force, saying: "I'm not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me."

Wilson, 28, had been an officer with the department for less than three years.

Ferguson officials on Sunday planned to address Wilson's resignation, as Brown's parents prepared to attend a church service where civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton was scheduled to preach. Wilson had been on administrative leave since the Aug. 9 shooting, Ferguson officials planned to make a statement on Wilson's resignation Sunday, said Stephanie Karr, city attorney for Ferguson.

"We were not after Wilson's job," Sharpton, who planned to preach Sunday at the St. Louis church where Brown's funeral was held, said in a written statement. "We were after Michael Brown's justice."

Brown's parents were set to attend the Sunday service with Sharpton.

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PROTESTS ONGOING

More than 100 protesters were chanting outside Ferguson police headquarters Saturday night, and many seemed unmoved by Wilson's resignation. Several merely shrugged their shoulders when asked what they thought. One protester, Rick Campbell, said he didn't care about the resignation, saying: "I've been protesting out here since August." By midnight, only about two dozen protesters remained.

Protesters also started a 120-mile march from Ferguson to Gov. Jay Nixon's mansion in Jefferson City. Organized by the NAACP, the march is expected to take seven days, with participants calling for new Ferguson police leadership and police reforms nationwide.

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FAMILIES OF BROWN, MARTIN MEET

Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., attended a prayer vigil Friday night in Miami Gardens, Florida. He met with Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, whose 17-year-old son Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012 by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

Tracy Martin told Miami television station WFOR he offered Michael Brown Sr. encouragement and told him "God has his hands on the situation, and he's gonna be OK."

The vigil was part of the annual Gospel Explosion Concert hosted by rapper Flo Rida.

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THE CASE

Brown, who was black, was unarmed when he was killed by Wilson, who is white, on Aug. 9 following a confrontation in a Ferguson street. Some witnesses said Brown had his hands up when Wilson shot him. Wilson told a grand jury that investigated the case that he feared for his life when Brown hit him and reached for his gun.

The shooting stirred racial tensions and led to numerous protests in Ferguson, a predominantly black community patrolled by a mostly white police force. A grand jury was assembled to investigate the shooting, and its nine white and three black members spent three months hearing more than 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses. Their decision not to indict Wilson was announced Monday night, prompting violent protests and looting that resulted in at least a dozen commercial buildings being destroyed.

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WHAT'S NEXT

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 federal agency also has launched a broad investigation into the Ferguson Police Department.