Feds can’t build civil rights case against Officer Darren Wilson

Feds can’t build civil rights case against Officer Darren Wilson

[Ed. – That said, his life as a Ferguson police office is over.  He may want to investigate subsistence farming in Idaho.]

Justice Department investigators have all but concluded they do not have a strong enough case to bring civil rights charges against Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., according to law enforcement officials.

When racial tension boiled over in Ferguson after the Aug. 9 shooting, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. traveled to the St. Louis suburb to meet with city leaders and protest organizers in an effort to bring calm. He assured them that the federal government would open a civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, but that investigation now seems unlikely to result in any charges.

“The evidence at this point does not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson,” said one person briefed on the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Justice Department officials are loath to acknowledge publicly that their case cannot now meet the high legal threshold for a successful civil rights prosecution. The timing is sensitive: Tensions are high in greater St. Louis as people await the results of a grand jury’s review of the case. …

Authorities faced a similar challenge in the investigation of George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Under federal law for hate crimes, prosecutors have to show that someone has been victimized intentionally because of a racial or other bias.

Law enforcement officials have said privately that there is insufficient evidence to bring federal charges in that case, although the two-year probe technically remains open.

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