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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Back issues
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No Federal Charges Expected in Ferguson Death

ST. LOUIS (CN) - The Justice Department is expected to announce that no civil rights charges will be filed against Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson police officer who killed Michael Brown.

Wilson shot Brown, an unarmed black teenager, on Aug. 9. The shooting sparked months of often violent protests in Ferguson and throughout the country, against excessive force and racial profiling.

A St. Louis County grand jury announced on Nov. 24 last year that Wilson would not be charged criminally for the shooting. Dozens of buildings in Ferguson and surrounding communities were burned as Brown supporters rioted in response.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that the Justice Department has begun work on a legal memo recommending that no civil rights charges be filed against Wilson.

The move would seem to end a separate investigation launched by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder shortly after the shooting.

The investigation by the F.B.I. has found no evidence to support civil rights charges against Wilson, officials told the Times.

The Justice Department is expected to release a report explaining its decision, but it is not clear when. Holder has indicated that he plans to have it done before leaving office.

A broader civil rights investigation Holder initiated into the practices of the Ferguson Police Department remains open. It is not clear when that investigation will be completed.

Meanwhile, a St. Louis County judge has rejected a request to convene a new grand jury to consider charges against Wilson.

The NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund told The Associated Press that a court administrator responded on behalf of St. Louis County Circuit Judge Maura McShane. The group had asked McShane in a Jan. 5 letter to appoint a special prosecutor to oversee the case.

The group had concerns over St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch's allowing a witness to provide false testimony, and it claims McCulloch gave erroneous legal instructions to grand jurors.

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