FERGUSON, Mo. — In the wake of a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, hundreds of citizen investigators have descended on this city in eastern Missouri in a desperate bid to uncover evidence that might compel the district attorney to prosecute.
“We shall leave no car untorched, no storefront intact, in our effort to find any important shred of evidence glossed over by the police,” said one citizen investigator from nearby St. Louis, who declined to give his name.
Some citizen investigators are setting fire to local restaurants, so that the ashes might later be sifted through to reveal hidden bullet casings or other pieces of metallic evidence, while others are retracing steps in the police investigation that followed the shooting. Hundreds of rounds of ammunition have been fired in the streets during ballistics tests aimed at replicating the trajectory and pattern of the shots fired by Officer Wilson.
One team of investigators who had driven all the way from Kansas City worked on tearing apart the convenience store Brown robbed minutes before he was shot, while hundreds of truth-seeking youths explored a liquor store, digging through and consuming the contents of thousands of bottles in the hopes of finding a clue about what really happened that day in August when Wilson shot Brown, claiming the 18-year-old had attacked him.
“The truth is buried somewhere in these neighborhoods, in the foundations of every building,” said one citizen investigator wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. “And we will burn this whole place down if that’s what it takes to get justice.”