Federal authorities will not seek civil-rights charges against the Missouri cop who gunned down unarmed black teen Michael Brown, law-enforcement sources said Wednesday.
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is taking the final steps toward closing the politically charged investigation into the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., and clearing the white police officer involved of civil rights charges.
Federal prosecutors have begun work on a legal memo recommending no civil rights charges against the officer, Darren Wilson, law enforcement officials said.
That would close the case in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. An investigation by the F.B.I., which is complete, found no evidence to support the charges against the officer, the officials said.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family, declined to comment on the news Wednesday.
“The family of Michael Brown Jr. will wait for official word from the Justice Department regarding whether or not any charges will be filed against the police officer who shot and killed him,” Crump said in a written statement released Wednesday. “The family won’t address speculation from anonymous sources.”
“The bar is extraordinarily high,” said Joey Jackson, a criminal defense attorney and legal analyst for CNN’s sister network HLN. “You have to show an intentional deprivation of a civil right.”
Given how difficult it is to prove intent, and also how many conflicting accounts emerged from the grand jury investigation, “it would be very difficult to move forward federally with a civil rights charge,” Jackson said.
Read more: NY Times