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The Department of Justice does not believe that it has a strong enough case to bring federal civil rights charges against Darren Wilson.
No official announcement has been made, but authorities are quietly coming to the consensus that bringing such charges against Darren is unlikely, The Washington Post reports.
Federal law dictates that a high threshold must be met before civil rights charges can be brought against someone, and one person briefed on the case told The Post that “the evidence at this point does not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson.”
Darren, a White police officer, shot unarmed Black teen Michael Brown over the summer, and the incident set off civil unrest in a St. Louis suburb. There were riots and looting in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, after Michael’s death. However, protestors did find more civil ways to protest legal proceedings in the case against the disgraced cop.
Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Darren deliberately sought to violate Michael’s civil rights during their deadly run-in. They can’t do that just yet, especially since Darren testified before a grand jury that he feared for his life during their altercation.
“There is an extra burden in federal civil rights cases because the statute requires that the defendant acted ‘willfully,’” Rachel A. Harmon, former prosecutor for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division explained. “It is not enough to prove that he used too much force. You have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did so willfully.”
This is not to say that authorities are completely closing the book on ever bringing civil rights charges against Darren. The two-year investigation into the incident is still open, but the chances of any federal charges coming from it do not look good.