Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson has not been charged with civil rights violations by the US Justice Department in the shooting death of unarmed, black teenager Michael Brown, according to a report released by the department on Wednesday.
Mr Wilson was not expected to face charges stemming from Mr Brown’s death last summer – which spawned massive protests in Ferguson and across the country – but Wednesday’s report made that official.
Mr Brown, aged 18, got in a confrontation with Mr Wilson in Ferguson in August and the confrontation ended with Mr Wilson shooting the teenager and killing him. Mr Brown’s death brought to the surface years of racial tensions between the majority-black community and the majority-white police force.
The events leading up to the shooting have been debated, with police saying that Mr Brown was behaving aggressively and was advancing on Mr Wilson when the officer pulled the trigger. The family of the victim claimed that Mr Brown was retreating from the officer and had his hands up in surrender.
Federal investigators concluded that Mr Wilson’s version of events was supported by evidence in the case.
“Although there are several individuals who have stated that Brown held his hands up in an unambiguous sign of surrender prior to Wilson shooting him dead, their accounts do not support a prosecution of Wilson,” the Justice Department report said.
“As detailed throughout this report, some of those accounts are inaccurate because they are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence.”
The reports of Mr Brown’s alleged surrender led to the popular protest mantra of “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Mr Brown’s death along with the death of black man Eric Garner at the hands of a white police officer in New York City set off unrest across the US in 2014, revealing police distrust in black communities
Both Mr Wilson and the officer who killed Mr Garner were not charged by grand juries in November and December, respectively. The Justice Department was investigating the Ferguson incident to see if Mr Wilson violated Mr Brown’s civil rights, which required prosecutors to prove that the officer wilfully violated those rights.Reuse content