Report: DOJ Won’t Pursue Federal Charges for Ferguson’s Darren Wilson

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The Department of Justice will recommend that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson not be charged with any federal civil rights violation in the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.

The New York Times reports the DOJ is in the process of drafting the recommendation after an FBI investigation “found no evidence to support civil rights charges against the officer.” However, the Times notes that Attorney General Eric Holder has not made a final decision yet. Holder is expected to reach a decision before he leaves office in the next month or two.

A St. Louis County Prosecutor announced in November that there would be no state charges brought against Wilson. That decision and the actions of prosecutor Robert McCulloch were heavily criticized, especially by the left.

Federal charges in the case were always considered unlikely, as the bar for proving a civil rights violation is relatively high. Prosecutors would need to prove not only that Officer Wilson was in error when he fired his gun but that he knew he was wrong when he did so.

The shooting of Michael Brown and the death of Eric Garner in New York were the impetus for a national protest movement known as Black Lives Matter. The movement, which seeks some reforms to police procedures, has held marches in cities across the country. It has also been involved in more confrontational tactics, such as die-ins, vandalism, and even shutting down highways.

The DOJ is still reviewing the behavior of the Ferguson police department as a whole. That investigation, launched in September, will determine whether a pattern of civil rights violations exists.


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