U.S. 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., the Washington Post reports. When racial tension boiled over in Ferguson after the Aug. 9 shooting, Attorney General Eric Holder 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. 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. 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. Many suporters of Brown say they are already convinced there will be no state-level indictment of the officer. Justice spokesman Brian Fallon said the case remains open and any discussion of its results is premature. “This is an irresponsible report by The Washington Post that is based on idle speculation,” he said.