This is sad but unfortunately it was predictable. No charges against Darren Wilson.
The Justice Department formally closed its investigation of Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson, declining to bring criminal charges for the killing of Michael Brown.
In a report released Wednesday, prosecutors said that “Wilson’s actions do not constitute prosecutable violations” of federal civil rights law.
“There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson’s stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety,” the Justice Department report said.
Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to address the findings at 3 p.m. EST.
The Justice Department also issued a 100-page report that it said found systemic racial discrimination by the Ferguson police and court system against African-Americans.
The report will form a basis for the Justice Department’s effort to reach a court-supervised agreement to require reforms at the Ferguson police and courts. Similar agreements, known as consent decrees, are in force with multiple police agencies around the nation, including New Orleans and Cleveland.
The report provides the Justice Department’s account to answer some of the most controversial issues in the case, including whether Brown was an aggressor and whether Wilson killed Brown as he was trying to give up.
The Justice Department investigation found that Brown reached into Wilson’s squad car and that a struggle ensued. Prosecutors couldn’t corroborate Wilson’s claim that Brown reached for his gun, but couldn’t find any evidence to disprove Wilson’s account. Brown moved at least 180 feet away from Wilson, but then turned and moved toward the officer, prosecutors said. Several witnesses claimed that Brown had his hands up, signaling surrender, when Wilson shot him. Some gave varying accounts, and some later recanted those claims made in media interviews.
The report says: “While credible witnesses gave varying accounts of exactly what Brown was doing with his hands as he moved toward Wilson — ie, balling them, holding them out, or pulling up his pants — and varying accounts of how he was moving — i.e. ‘charging,’ moving in ‘slow motion’ or ‘running’ — they all establish that Brown was moving toward Wilson when Wilson shot him.”
In a separate report, the Justice Department described what it said was a “pattern and practice” of discrimination against African-Americans by the Ferguson police and municipal courts.
The department suggested 26 recommendations, including requiring the Ferguson police to providing training to ensure officers aren’t using bias in policing; that officers practice community policing by getting out of their cars and getting to know their communities; and that the police focus stops, searches and ticketing on protecting the public instead of as a fundraising method for the city’s coffers.
The investigation found that the Ferguson police and courts used minor traffic and other violations to raise money for the city, targeted African-American motorists for traffic infractions, and black residents disproportionately for violations such as jay walking.