After a grand jury decided not to indict former Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson in the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, many hoped that at least civil rights charges might be filed by the Department of Justice. Wednesday afternoon the New York Times reported that won’t happen either:
The Justice Department has begun work on a legal memo recommending no civil rights charges against a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., who killed an unarmed black teenager in August, law enforcement officials said.
That would close the politically charged case in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The investigation by the F.B.I., which is complete, found no evidence to support civil rights charges against the officer, Darren Wilson, the officials said.
A broader civil rights investigation into allegations of discriminatory traffic stops and excessive force by the Ferguson Police Department remains open, however. That investigation could lead to significant changes at the department, which is overwhelmingly white despite serving a city that is mostly black.
The decision not recommend charges for Wilson has not formally been made, reports the Times. The paper also noted:
There is a high legal bar for bringing federal civil rights charges, and federal investigators had for months signaled that they were unlikely to do so. The Justice Department plans to release a report explaining its decision, though it is not clear when.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., has said that he plans to have it done before leaving office, probably in the next month or two if his successor is confirmed.
We’ll bring you more on this story as it develops.
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