The parents of Michael Brown are now calling for the immediate arrest of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed their son last month in Ferguson.
At a rally outside the St. Louis County Justice Center in Clayton on Saturday, Michael Brown Sr. and Leslie McSpadden said that it had been 35 days since their son was shot and nobody was saying or doing anything. Brown Sr. said that there was a killer on the loose and it was time for him to be arrested. He then spoke directly to Officer Wilson, asking him to volunteer to be locked up.
“I could respect that. I’d respect you a whole lot better, if you would come here right now and turn yourself in,” said Brown Sr.
The family’s local attorney, Anthony Gray, said that Wilson no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt generally given to police officers because the weight of evidence is against him.
“You got six independent witnesses now that say that he had his hands in the air when this man was shot. Period. That evidence doesn’t afford you any benefit of a doubt,” Gray said.
Although the grand jury is still hearing evidence in Brown’s case and has yet to decide whether to indict Wilson, Gray said Wilson should be arrested now.
He said that arrests before indictments “happen all the time.”
“We’re saying, this family is saying, a major step has been skipped in favor of this officer. And they’re saying, now that the evidence is so overwhelmingly against him, that he should now be arrested, charged, booked, fingerprinted and photographed, and let’s still wait for the grand jury to come back.”
Reports previously published by St. Louis Public Radio explain why Darren Wilson wasn’t arrested at the time of Michael Brown’s death, and that the courts generally give police officers a lot of leeway because the use of force can be part of their job.
The Ferguson chapter president for the National Action Network, Rev. Carlton Lee, led the rally. Invoking both Nelly and the Bible, Lee said first that they were going to "keep the heat on" so that justice would be served for the Brown family because officials would say "it's getting hot in here." At the close of the speeches, he led the group in a prayer.
About 50 people came out to Clayton in support of the Browns. They cheered and called out during the speeches, in a crowd packed close to hear Gray, Lee, Brown Sr. and McSpadden's cousin speak through a bullhorn. Following the rally, the group marched around the justice center in an echo of Nehemiah, chanting “Arrest him now.”
Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.