Secretary of Defense Hagel Out — Ferguson Verdict In — No True Bill — No Charges — Case Closed — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014

 

Story 1: Secretary of Defense Hagel Out — Ferguson Verdict In — No True Bill — No Charges — Case Closed — Videos

President Obama’s Statement on Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

No indictment in Michael Brown shooting! (Video) HD

BREAKING! Ferguson Grand Jury Announces Verdict

Ferguson, Missouri protesters riot; tear gas released following follow Michael Brown ruling

Who will interview Darren Wilson first?

Deluge Of Ferguson MO Leaks – Show Officer’s Side Of Micheal Brown Killing – Media Buzz Spin Cycle

Michael Brown Shooting: Surveillance Video Shows Ferguson Officer After Shooting

Grand Jury Decides Not To Indict Officer Darren Wilson For The Shooting Death Of Michael Brown! (HD)

Answers to questions about the Ferguson grand jury

President Obama asks Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to resign

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Resigns stepping down Breaking News November 24 2014

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Resigns

Hagel resigns as U.S. defense secretary, official says

Ferguson Grand Jury Reportedly Comes to a Decision; Announcement Expected Later Today

Michael Brown shooting | Ferguson jury reaches verdict

No indictment for Ferguson officer

A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation.

A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Monday night.

The decision had been long awaited and followed rioting that resembled war-zone news footage in this predominantly black suburb of St. Louis.

Crowds of protesters filled streets near the Ferguson police station following the announcement.

In Washington, President Obama appeared before TV cameras. “We need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make,” he said in calling for peaceful protests. But he said the Ferguson case “speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation.”

Prosecutor McCulloch made the announcement in an unusual nighttime presentation in a courtroom. He spoke at length about media coverage of the case and what he called the unreliability of eyewitness accounts. He said the grand jury weighed evidence and testimony before concluding there was no probable cause to indict the officer.

“The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction,” McCulloch said.

He said prosecuting attorneys presented five potential indictments to the grand jury, and all were rejected.

“The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,” Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family, said after being informed of the decision by authorities.

Brown’s family attorneys received a call from McCulloch shortly before the announcement. Crump took the call and and delivered the news to Brown’s family in an area hotel.

“The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,” Crump said to Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother. “He (McCulloch) said he would be willing to meet with you all.”

McSpadden began crying and shouting. Her body vibrated with pain as she jumped to her feet.

“I do want to meet with him right now,” McSpadden screamed. “What do you mean no indictment?!”

She then ran out of a hotel room followed by family members.

Brown’s family later released a statement saying, “We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.” The urged others who share their pan to “channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change.”

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, called for calm after calling up National Guard troops to stand by in case of unrest. Speaking before the decision was announced, he urged that “regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint.”

Crowds gathered around the Ferguson police headquarters in anticipation of the announcement at the courthouse in Clayton, Mo., another St. Louis suburb.

The 12-person grand jury had been considering whether probable cause existed to bring charges against Wilson, 28, the white officer who fatally shot Brown, an 18-year-old black man, after their Aug. 9 confrontation. The shooting inflamed tensions in a largely minority community that is patrolled by an overwhelmingly white police force.

Brown’s lifeless and bleeding body lay for more than four hours in a Ferguson residential street after the shooting, prompting dismay and anger as a crowd gathered. Protests turned into rioting and looting the following night, and police responded with armored vehicles and tear gas, triggering a nationwide debate over police tactics.

The 12-person grand jury, including nine whites and three African Americans, had been meeting in secret for months, hearing evidence and weighing whether Wilson’s should face charges that could have ranged from involuntary manslaughter to murder.

Brown’s family joined thousands of protesters to demand Wilson’s arrest. As anger at official inaction grew following Brown’s death, protesters clashed with police, who began patrolling the streets with military-grade weapons and armored vehicles.

Wilson has been on paid leave and largely invisible since the shooting.

While the grand jury met in secret to hear evidence in the case, two starkly different versions of the events leading to the shooting emerged in media accounts.

Police have said a scuffle broke out after Wilson asked Brown and a friend to move out of the street. Wilson told investigators he shot Brown only after the teenager reached for the officer’s gun. Some witnesses said Brown had run away from Wilson, then turned and raised his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender before he was shot in the head and chest.

The unusual timing of the grand jury’s announcement, after darkness had fallen, was a decision of prosecutors, Nixon said.

He said several local churches would provide shelter, safe haven and medical care in the event of unrest.

As officials called for peace, security preparations were beefed up around the courthouse and at other locations including the Ferguson police headquarters. Barricades were erected and Missouri state troopers were present with rifles, 3-foot batons, riot shields and other equipment. Crowds of protesters waving signs and chanting spilled into streets near the police offices.

“This is not the time to turn on each other; it is a time to turn to each other,” said St. Louis County Executive Charley Dooley. “We are one community,” he said.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay acknowledged the case “has deeply divided us” but said “turning violent or damaging property will not be tolerated.”

“The world will be watching us,” Slay said.

Anthony Gray, a lawyer for the Brown family, said they were informed the announcement by the county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, was imminent.

Police have said Brown struggled with Wilson inside his police car, then reached for Wilson’s weapon. Brown’s family and some witnesses say Wilson killed Brown as he raised his hands in surrender.

The death of Brown, 18, touched off weeks of protests, and the decision by the grand jury on whether to bring charges prompted extraordinary precautions by law enforcement and the community. The Ferguson school district canceled Tuesday classes.

Police officials and protest organizers have collaborated on rules of engagement — that is, rules for conduct when protesters meet police again on the streets. Nixon has declared a state of emergency and activated the state’s National Guard.

Brown’s family called for 4½ minutes of silence after the grand jury announcement, Maggie Crane, spokeswoman for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, said in a tweet Monday afternoon.

St. Louis County Police asked for donations for officers working round-the-clock shifts in Ferguson. Items requested on the department’s Facebook page include Visa gift cards, water, Gatorade, soda, hand and foot warmers, DayQuil and cough drops. The department said it uses the gift cards to order hot meals for the command centers.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/24/ferguson-grand-jury-deliberations/19474907/

Hagel Resigns Under Pressure as Global Crises Test Pentagon

By

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel handed in his resignation under pressure on Monday, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and the struggles of his national security team to respond to an onslaught of global crises.

In announcing Mr. Hagel’s resignation from the State Dining Room on Monday, the president, flanked by Mr. Hagel and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., called Mr. Hagel critical to ushering the military “through a significant period of transition” and lauded “a young Army sergeant from Vietnam who rose to serve as America’s 24th secretary of defense.”

Mr. Obama called Mr. Hagel “no ordinary secretary of defense,” adding that he had “been in the dirt” of combat like no other defense chief. He said that Mr. Hagel would remain in the job until his successor is confirmed by the Senate.

Administration officials said that Mr. Obama made the decision to remove Mr. Hagel, the sole Republican on his national security team, last Friday after a series of meetings between the two men over the past two weeks.

 

Obama Praises Hagel at Resignation

 

President Obama called Chuck Hagel “no ordinary secretary of defense” during a news conference at which Mr. Hagel announced his resignation.

Video by Associated Press on Publish DateNovember 24, 2014. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

 

The officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel, who often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint and was widely viewed as a passive defense secretary, was brought in to employ.

Mr. Hagel, a combat veteran who was skeptical about the Iraq war, came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestrations.

Now, however, the American military is back on a war footing, although it is a modified one. Some 3,000 American troops are being deployed in Iraq to help the Iraqi military fight the Sunni militants of the Islamic State, even as the administration struggles to come up with, and articulate, a coherent strategy to defeat the group in both Iraq and Syria.

“The next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that the defense secretary initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.

But Mr. Hagel’s aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.

Even before the announcement of Mr. Hagel’s removal, Obama officials were speculating on his possible replacement. At the top of the list were Michèle A. Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense, and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense.

 

PLAY VIDEO|0:30

Hagel Resigning as Defense Secretary

 

Hagel Resigning as Defense Secretary

Chuck Hagel, whose resignation as defense secretary was announced Monday, said he would stay in the job and support the president until his successor was confirmed.

Video by Associated Press on Publish DateNovember 24, 2014. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

 

Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a former officer with the Army’s 82nd Airborne, was also considered to be a contender, but a spokesman said that the senator was not in the running. “Senator Reed loves his job and does not wish to be considered for secretary of defense or any other cabinet post,” the spokesman said.

Mr. Hagel, a respected former senator who struck a friendship with Mr. Obama when they were both critics of the Iraq war from positions on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has nonetheless had trouble penetrating the tight team of former campaign aides and advisers who form Mr. Obama’s closely knit set of loyalists. Senior administration officials have characterized him as quiet during cabinet meetings; Mr. Hagel’s defenders said that he waited until he was alone with the president before sharing his views, the better to avoid leaks.

Whatever the case, Mr. Hagel struggled to fit in with Mr. Obama’s close circle and was viewed as never gaining traction in the administration after a bruising confirmation fight among his old Senate colleagues, during which he was criticized for seeming tentative in his responses to sharp questions.

He never really shed that pall after arriving at the Pentagon, and in the past few months he has largely ceded the stage to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who officials said initially won the confidence of Mr. Obama with his recommendation of military action against the Islamic State.

In Mr. Hagel’s less than two years on the job, his detractors said he struggled to inspire confidence at the Pentagon in the manner of his predecessors, especially Robert M. Gates. But several of Mr. Obama’s top advisers over the past few months have also acknowledged privately that the president did not want another high-profile defense secretary in the mold of Mr. Gates, who went on to write a memoir of his years with Mr. Obama in which he sharply criticized the president. Mr. Hagel, they said, in many ways was exactly the kind of defense secretary whom the president, after battling the military during his first term, wanted.

Mr. Hagel, for his part, spent his time on the job largely carrying out Mr. Obama’s stated wishes on matters like bringing back American troops from Afghanistan and trimming the Pentagon budget, with little pushback. He did manage to inspire loyalty among enlisted soldiers and often seemed at his most confident when talking to troops or sharing wartime experiences as a Vietnam veteran.

But Mr. Hagel has often had problems articulating his thoughts — or administration policy — in an effective manner, and has sometimes left reporters struggling to describe what he has said in news conferences. In his side-by-side appearances with both General Dempsey and Secretary of State John Kerry, Mr. Hagel, a decorated Vietnam veteran and the first former enlisted combat soldier to be defense secretary, has often been upstaged.

He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.

 

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