Society

Justice Department To Recommend No Civil Rights Charges In Ferguson Shooting

| by Emily Smith
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Justice Department lawyers will reportedly recommend that no civil rights charges be filed against Darren Wilson, the police officer involved in the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting.

The decision follows an investigation led by the F.B.I. which found no evidence to support such charges in the case of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager shot and killed in Ferguson. Currently, prosecutors are still working on a legal memo justifying their decision, according to the New York Times.

Despite the recommendation, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his civil rights chief, Vanita Gupta, will have the final say on whether the Justice Department will close the case against Wilson. Although the decision lies in their hands, it would be unusual for them to overrule the prosecutors’ decision.

Still, while a decision by the Justice Department would put an end to the investigation into the shooting of 18-year-old Brown, a broader civil rights investigation into discriminatory traffic stops and excessive force by the Ferguson Police Department would remain open. Further investigation into the latter case could lead to significant changes within the Ferguson Police Department, which is overwhelmingly white despite serving a largely African-American community.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family, said the family has declined to comment on the Justice Department’s recommendation until a final decision is made.

“The family won’t address speculation from anonymous sources,” Crump said in a statement.

Neil Bruntrager, an attorney for Wilson, noted that he hadn’t received any kind of communication from the Justice Department and declined to comment on the recommendation.

“We don’t believe [Wilson] has done anything that would merit any kind of a prosecution or any kind of civil rights claims and we are just awaiting the outcome like everybody else,” Bruntrager said.

The Justice Department plans to release a report including an explanation of its decision, though it’s not clear when that might occur. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the department declined to comment on the case.

Sources: NY Times, Yahoo! News / Photo Credit: Flickr