AFRICANGLOBE – The Justice Department is moving to close an investigation into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. — clearing the white police officer who shot the black teenager, according to a report Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors are drafting a memo recommending Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Brown, should not face charges for violating the 18-year-old’s civil rights.
An FBI investigation has found no evidence to support charges against Wilson, though a federal civil rights investigation into whether Ferguson police engaged in discriminatory traffic stops and used excessive force remains open.
The Ferguson Police Department is overwhelmingly white, while the town, near St. Louis, is mostly Black.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family, said they will “wait for official word from the Justice Department” before commenting. “The family won’t address speculation from anonymous sources,” Crump said in a statement.
An FBI investigation has allegedly found no evidence to support charges against Darren Wilson, though a federal civil rights investigation into whether Ferguson police engaged in discriminatory traffic stops and used excessive force remains open.
A Justice Department spokesman did not respond to an inquiry Wednesday.
A grand jury decided in November not to indict Wilson in Brown’s death.
Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department after the incident.
The grand jury decision set off riots and protests in Ferguson and demonstrations around the country. If protests arise this time, the NYPD is ready, said Deputy Chief Kim Royster, spokeswoman for the department.
“The NYPD will support individuals expressing their First Amendment rights as long as it is peaceful and lawful,” she said.
Brown’s case is often linked to the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island last July. Garner, who was unarmed was strangled to death by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo.
A grand jury in Staten Island declined in December to indict Pantaleo.
The Justice Department is still conducting a civil rights investigation into Garner’s murder.
Justice Department officials have said that in both cases, after local grand juries declined to indict, investigators have to meet a high legal bar to charge officers with civil rights violations.
A high-ranking Justice official in a previous administration said that the key legal standard at play — having to prove the “intentional” nature of an act — “made it virtually inconceivable that there would be a criminal federal indictment given the conflicting nature of the evidence.”
Two former department lawyers said that a civil action against Wilson and even St. Louis County could remain a possibility.
By: Dan Friedman