I'm absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.A grand jury isn't going to return an indictment if you don't set out to prosecute anyone. And it's clear from this the county never intended to prosecute this cop.
And to them, it's a pretty simple calculation. You can either prosecute the cop and seek some sort of official justice; whatever that might have ended up being. Or you can not do anything and then use people's anger over it to justify your inaction after the fact. The second option is more destructive but also obviously easier and represents a clear choice of status quo over justice.