November 24, 2014 - FERGUSON, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES - Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted on any charges for shooting and killing unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown, a St. Louis grand jury has decided.
The grand jury's decision was announced Monday evening by Bob McCulloch, the prosecuting attorney for St. Louis County. He said that "no probable cause exists" to file any charges against Wilson.
Michael Brown's mother collapsed in tears as the verdict was announced - as the victim's stepfather screamed 'Burn this b**** down'. Spokeswoman for Michael Brown Sr. says he is "devastated."
Meanwhile, Wilson's attorneys issued a statement in which he thanked 'those who have stood by his side throughout the process'.
WATCH: No indictment for Ferguson cop who killed Michael Brown.
Officer Wilson potentially faced charges of first- or second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter. At least nine of the 12 people on the jury needed to agree to bring charges in order to indict Wilson. It's unclear exactly how that vote unfolded.
In the wake of the decision, the Brown family released a statement saying:
News of the grand jury's decision did not go over well with protesters, some of whom threw objects and began smashing up a police vehicle. Officers deployed tear gas in an effort to disperse demonstrators.
According to McCulloch the grand jury heard 70 hours of testimony from more than 60 witnesses. Full transcripts from the grand jury process will be made public, he added.
Ahead of the decision, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called for calm and restraint from protesters and police.
"While none of us knows what that [decision] will be, our shared hope and expectation is that regardless of the decision people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint," he said.
The governor added that the state is doing everything it can to "protect lives, protect property, and protect the freedom of speech.” The governor added that police will “continue to maintain open lines of communication” with protesters “to improve interaction”with law enforcement.
The decision comes about two months after the grand jury was convened to look into charging Wilson with a crime. Brown was killed on August 9, though there have been conflicting accounts regarding his death.
The grand jury heard testimony from numerous witnesses, some of which reportedly claimed that Brown was trying to surrender to Wilson when he was shot. However, other witnesses – as well as Wilson himself – claim Brown was involved in a physical confrontation with the officer before he was killed. According to reports, Wilson told the grand jury that Brown punched him while he was in his vehicle and also charged at him despite orders to stop.
|Demonstrators chant 'hands up, don't shoot' as they protest in front of
the Ferguson police department on November 24, 2014 in Ferguson,
(ustin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)
|Police have tried to break up the violent crowds by using tear gas on
Monday night. The President and U.S. Attorney General have called|
for restraint from law enforcement in dealing with protesters
An independent autopsy report conducted on behalf of the family found that Brown had been shot at least eight times – six times from behind. Jerryl Christmas, one of the Brown family attorneys, said the results indicated there was no struggle.
"The evidence shows that the story we've been given by the Police Department does not match up,"attorney Jerryl Christmas said, as cited by the AP."There's no evidence that there was a gun battle going on."
Meanwhile, an autopsy conducted by the St. Louis County medical examiner found evidence of residue on Brown’s hand that would support the idea that Wilson shot the teenager at close range. Leaked details from the autopsy suggest it also indicated that Brown and Wilson were engaged in a “significant altercation” inside of or near Wilson’s car.
WATCH: Riots break out in Ferguson - Gunfire, molotovs and tear gas reported.
Brown’s death sparked immediate criticism from residents and those around the country who believed Wilson used excessive force. Protesters took to the streets calling for Wilson to be identified – police at the time refused to declare who killed the teen – and for him to face charges. Demonstrations lasted for weeks, with law enforcement responding strongly by arriving at protests in riot gear, with armored vehicles, and by using tear gas to clear out activists.
President Obama, speaking live to the nation after the decision in Ferguson not to indict a police office for the killing of Michael Brown, said that "America isn't everything that it could be."
WATCH: Obama - "America isn't everything that it could be".
"We shouldn't try to paper it over," said Obama. "Whenever we do that the anger may momentarily subside, but over time it builds up. And America isn't everything that it could be. And I am confident that if we focus our attention on the problem and we look at what has happened in communities around the country effectively, then we can make progress not just in Ferguson but in a lot of other cities and communities around the country."
Obama made the statement as a split screen showed mayhem breaking out in Ferguson, Missouri.
WATCH: Ferguson descends into chaos.
WATCH: Coast to Coast - Ferguson fury across US as cop acquitted of teen killing.