Last night a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked weeks of sometimes-violent protests.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch announced the decision Monday evening. A grand jury of nine whites and three blacks had been meeting weekly since Aug. 20 to consider evidence. The panel met for 70 hours and heard from 60 witnesses.
UFC welterweight Tyron Woodley was born and raised in Ferguson, Missouri, an area a few miles from St. Louis.
He was 11th born of the 13 Woodley children to Sylvester and Deborah Woodley. He was raised by his mother after his father left early in his life. In high school he was on the honor roll every term, received All-Conference honors in football, was a two-time state finalist in wrestling finishing 48-0 and winning a state title.
Woodley recently toured his home region to speak with youth and offer inspirational advice.
In an interview earlier this year Woodley said “I’m not talking to no grown-ass men, telling them they shouldn’t be in freakin’ stealing bottles of wine and chips from the store,” he said. “That had nothing to do with the murder. Also, I’m not condoning police brutality or murder, if that’s what the details reflect. I’m just waiting on those facts before I take my stance on the actual shooting.
“I feel bad for the kid; my prayers go out to them. But I want details and be educated on what happened before I start being a vigilante and going crazy and find out later that this is protocol and the kid provoked the situation, and this officer was fighting for his life. Or, he just flat-out murdered this kid.”
Last night during the riots that broke out after the announcement was made public Woodley tweeted what seemed like disappointment.
“I pray my city proves the world wrong. Fighting 4 #Ferguson w/ positive actions NOT negative Reaction. The World had heard. Start the PEACE!”
“That’s the street I grew up on. My heart is hurting now.”
Woodley (14-3) faces undefeated Kelvin Gastelum (10-0) at UFC 183, Jan. 31, 2015.