Home News BREAKING: Civil Rights charges not expected from Justice Department for Darren Wilson

BREAKING: Civil Rights charges not expected from Justice Department for Darren Wilson

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Police stop roadblock protest
St. Louis city police stand down after an attempt to shut down interstate 70 was stifled, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014 in Berkeley, Mo. near the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo. where Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year old was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)


WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI has completed its investigation into the police shooting of an unarmed, black 18-year-old by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

The Justice Department has not yet announced whether it will file a federal civil rights charge against former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. But officials and experts have said such a prosecution would be highly unlikely, in part because of the extraordinarily high legal standard federal prosecutors would need to meet.

The official was not authorized to discuss the case by name and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson declined to comment.

FILE- This undated file photo released by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's office on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, shows Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson during his medical examination after he fatally shot Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. The white police officer who killed Michael Brown has resigned from the Ferguson Police Department, nearly four months after the confrontation that fueled protests in the St. Louis suburb and across the U.S. Wilson has been on administrative leave since the Aug. 9 shooting. His resignation was announced Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014, by one of his attorneys, Neil Bruntrager. Bruntrager said the resignation is effective immediately. (AP Photo/St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, File)
FILE- This undated file photo released by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s office on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, shows Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson during his medical examination after he fatally shot Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. The white police officer who killed Michael Brown has resigned from the Ferguson Police Department, nearly four months after the confrontation that fueled protests in the St. Louis suburb and across the U.S. Wilson has been on administrative leave since the Aug. 9 shooting. His resignation was announced Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014, by one of his attorneys, Neil Bruntrager. Bruntrager said the resignation is effective immediately. (AP Photo/St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, File)

Wilson, who is white, was cleared in November by a state grand jury in the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, a shooting that touched off protests in the streets and became part of a national conversation about race relations and police departments that patrol minority neighborhoods. Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson in the days after the shooting to try to calm tensions and meet with Brown’s family and law enforcement.

Wilson, who shot Brown after a scuffle in the middle of the street, told the St. Louis County grand jury that spent months reviewing the case that he feared for his life when Brown hit him and reached for his gun. Some witnesses have said Brown had his hands up when Wilson shot him.

To mount a federal prosecution, the Justice Department would need to show that Wilson willfully deprived Brown of his civil rights. That standard, which means prosecutors must prove that an officer knowingly used more force than the law allowed, is challenging for the government to meet. Multiple high-profile police-involved deaths, including the 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant, in New York City, have not resulted in federal charges.

Wilson, who had been on administrative leave since the shooting, resigned days after the grand jury decision. A lawyer for Ferguson did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

A separate, broader Justice Department-led investigation into the practices of the Ferguson police department remains open. That investigation, which will examine potential racial bias among officers, has the potential to have more sweeping consequences than any individual criminal prosecutions, experts say.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Justice Department lawyers were preparing a memo recommending against prosecuting Wilson, but that the memo was not yet complete and that Holder — who is expected to leave his position within weeks — had not yet made a decision.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Brown’s family, said in a statement that the family would not address speculation from anonymous officials and was waiting for an official Justice Department announcement.

The Justice Department, meanwhile, is conducting a separate federal civil rights investigation into the police chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City. In that case, too, a local grand jury declined to indict the officer. The U.S. attorney whose office is handling that investigation, Loretta Lynch, has been nominated to replace Holder and faces a Senate confirmation hearing next week.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Whom ever wrote this article is a rotten piece of fermented trash. This article constantly incites race driven bias to the situation. This is the kind of media that should be closed down for causing hysteria. I cannot express how enraged this makes me… Great Writing scumbags.

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