ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Rev. Tommie Pierson says he and his congregation are disappointed that the police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Missouri, won’t face charges.
Pierson is senior pastor of Greater St. Mark Family Church, where Brown’s parents appeared Thursday at a news conference announcing plans for a wrongful death suit against the city of Ferguson and former Officer Darren Wilson.
The Department of Justice cleared Wilson of federal civil rights charges in Brown’s death. But it also called for sweeping changes in a city where officers trade racist emails, issue tickets mostly to black drivers that generate millions of dollars in revenue, and routinely use what investigators called excessive force on people stopped for minor or nonexistent offenses.
Pierson says, “People want to feel safe in their communities.” He adds that if a police officer “doesn’t make you feel safe, then who will?”