LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are among the most high-profile athletes to speak out Monday night’s decision where Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was cleared by a grand jury in the killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown.
Wilson shot and killed the 18-year-old Brown during an Aug. 9 confrontation in the near St. Louis suburb, an act that has since sparked outrage and protest across much of the country.
In the wake of Wilson’s exoneration, James took to Instagram to post “as a society how do we do better and stop things like this happening time after time. I’m so sorry to these families. Violence is not the answer people. Retaliation isn’t the solution as well. #PrayersUpToTheFamilies #WeHaveToDoBetter.”
The veteran Bryant was even more direct, tweeting “the system enables young black men to be killed behind the mask of law. #Ferguson #tippingpoint #change.”
Of the grand jury pool of 12, who met for weeks in total secrecy and heard more than 70 hours of testimony from at least 60 witnesses, at least nine votes were required for Wilson to have been formally indicted.
In the wake of their decision being made public, President Barack Obama also felt compelled to weigh in.
“We are a nation built on the rule of law, so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make,” Obama said. He later added it’s understandable that many would be “deeply disappointed and “even angered.” The president still implored all would-be protestors to remain peaceful.
Besides Ferguson, after the decision was announced demonstrations were staged among thousands in such cities as Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Crowds waved signs reading “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot,” the slogan that has become a rallying cry in demonstrations all across the country.
Among other NBA legends, Magic Johnson also posted on Twitter “we must work together to stop the unnecessary loss of young men of color. Justice was not served in Ferguson.”[Photo Credit: Keith Allison]