Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown dead in Ferguson, Missouri, has been cleared of civil rights violation charges.
An unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer named Darren Wilson back in August of 2014. Three months later, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson on murder charges. The decision outraged the community and spawned civil rights protests across America.
Wilson was cleared of murder charges, but he wasn't cleared on whether or not he violated Brown's civil rights, so civil rights prosecutors filed a lawsuit to investigate. That investigation ended today. After much deliberation, the Justice Department decided not to prosecute the officer.
According to The New York Times,
"The Justice Department said forensic evidence and other witnesses backed up the account of Officer Wilson, who said Mr. Brown fought with him, reached for his gun, then charged at him. [Wilson] told investigators that he feared for his life."
The official Justice Department report states,
"There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson’s stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety."
To win the case, civil rights prosecutors would've had to prove that Wilson purposefully used unreasonable force when he shot Brown. Because the Justice Department couldn't disprove that Wilson feared for his life, they could not prove that he used unreasonable force. So Wilson walks again.
However, the department is not letting the Ferguson police department completely of the hook. It noted that Ferguson police engaged in discriminatory actions against blacks on a regular basis. The New York Times states that the Justice Department investigation:
"Found a wide pattern of discrimination by the city’s police force, and said that city officials had sent racist emails on their government accounts. One depicted President Obama as a chimpanzee. Another included a photo of topless African women with the caption, 'Michelle Obama’s high school reunion.'"
An earlier article also reported,
"Crime statistics compiled in the city [of Ferguson] over the past two years seemed to suggest that only black people were breaking the law. They accounted for 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of tickets and 93 percent of arrests. In cases like jaywalking, which often hinge on police discretion, blacks accounted for 95 percent of all arrests."
Michael Brown's parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Senior, made a statement after today's decision. They said,
"Today we received disappointing news from the Department of Justice that the killer of our son wouldn't be held accountable for his actions. While we are saddened by this decision, we are encouraged that the DOJ will hold the Ferguson Police Department accountable for the pattern of racial bias and profiling they found in their handling of interactions with people of color. It is our hope that through this action, true change will come not only in Ferguson, but around the country. If that change happens, our son's death will not have been in vain."
For more on the subject, check out our latest video below, After Ferguson.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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