Report: No Civil Rights Charges for Ferguson Cop

Washington Post says investigators don't think they have a case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2014 4:54 PM CDT
Report: No Civil Rights Charges for Ferguson Cop
In this Feb. 11, 2014, photo, officer Darren Wilson attends a city council meeting in Ferguson, Mo.   (AP Photo/City of Ferguson, File)

Don't expect the Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown to face civil rights charges. The Washington Post interviews Justice Department investigators and reports they have "all but concluded" that they have no case against Darren Wilson. The inquiry isn't done yet, and the story includes quotes from officials who say it's "irresponsible" to draw conclusions in advance, but it doesn't seem to be a huge surprise. The New York Times previously came to a similar conclusion. (The Root thinks the leaks that led to the Times story are a sign that officials want to prepare people for the fact that Wilson will face no charges.)

In terms of the civil rights case, the main problem is the high threshold required to bring charges, explains the Post. Prosecutors would have to prove that Wilson intended to violate Brown's constitutional rights. Separately, a grand jury continues to review the shooting, and its results are expected soon. On the federal level, however, supporters of Brown may have to settle for the results of a broader Justice Department investigation into the Ferguson police department that could require reforms. Today, for example, the department announced that after an inquiry into allegations over the excessive use of force, police in Albuquerque, NM, have agreed to overhaul their training programs, reports AP. (Read more Ferguson, Missouri stories.)

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