On August 9, 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Like many modern movements, social media became the engine for getting news about what was happening in the town. The country waited with bated breath for the grand jury decision regarding whether or not to indict the police officer.
Last night, the prosecuting attorney announced the grand jury decision not to charge officer Darren Wilson with murder. During his announcement, the prosecutor accused the media of muddying the facts, which social media called him out for.
Things indicted so far: Social media, regular media, the public Things not indicted: The person who killed a kid with his hands up
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) November 25, 2014
Since the #FergusonDecision, social media has been flooded with outrage as well as news of protests all over the country.
Despite the call for peaceful protests from the family of the young man who was killed, the streets erupted. Early images showed protesters in Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago, New York and Oakland, Calif. stopping traffic.
— NewsBreaker (@NewsBreaker) November 25, 2014
protesters just shut down highway 44 at grand. pic.twitter.com/RI9SwVJCcC
— Jessica Leitch (@jessleitch) November 25, 2014
— Tim Eby (@timjeby) November 25, 2014
There were also reports of people rioting and looting, but most of the social media images were of the police in riot gear.
— Revolution News (@NewsRevo) November 25, 2014
In the aftermath of the grand jury #FergusonDecision, President Obama made a statement, lamenting the imbalance of justice and admonishing the media not to focus on reporting the violence:
Indeed, it is clear that people see this grand jury decision as a miscarriage of justice, and have even created memes using quotes from civil rights leaders including Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr.
— Big Boi (@BigBoi) November 25, 2014
The last time Ferguson came to social media prominence, there were complaints that it was not trending for certain users. This time, however, the news and discussion dominated users’ feeds.
Five of the topics trending on Twitter nationally right now are #Ferguson related. This is a tragedy for our town, our home.
— Mandy St. Amand (@mandystlpd) November 25, 2014