Report: DOJ Ferguson Report Close, Officer Charges Not Likely
January 22, 2015

AP) – The FBI has completed its investigation into the police shooting of an unarmed, black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

The Justice Department has not yet announced whether it will file a federal civil rights charge against former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. But officials and experts have said such a prosecution would be highly unlikely, in part because of the extraordinarily high legal standard federal prosecutors would need to meet.

The official was not authorized to discuss the case by name and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson declined to comment.

Wilson, who is white, was cleared in November by a state grand jury in the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown, a shooting that touched off protests in the streets and became part of a national conversation about race relations and police departments that patrol minority neighborhoods. Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson in the days after the shooting to try to calm tensions and to meet with Brown’s relatives and federal law enforcement.

Wilson, who shot Brown after a scuffle in the middle of a street, told the St. Louis County grand jury that spent months reviewing the case that he feared for his life during the confrontation and that Brown struck him in the face and reached for his gun. Some witnesses have said Brown had his hands up when Wilson shot him.

To mount a federal prosecution, the Justice Department would need to show that Wilson willfully deprived Brown of his civil rights. That standard, which means prosecutors must prove that an officer knowingly used more force than the law allowed, is challenging for the government to meet. Multiple high-profile police-involved deaths, including the 1999 shooting in New York City of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant have not resulted in federal charges.

Fetguson Grand Juror Sues to Speak Out
January 5, 2015

(AP) – A member of the grand jury that declined to indict a Ferguson police officer in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown contends in a lawsuit filed Monday that the prosecutor in the case has wrongly implied that all 12 jurors believed there was no evidence to support charges.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of the unnamed juror, who wants to be allowed to talk publicly about the case but could face charges for doing so because of a lifetime gag order. The juror also says he or she came away with the impression that evidence was presented differently than in other cases, with the insinuation that Brown, not Officer Darren Wilson, was the wrongdoer. No grand jurors have spoken publicly about the case.

Brown, who was black, was unarmed when he was fatally shot after an Aug. 9 confrontation with Wilson, who is white. The shooting in the St. Louis suburb led to widespread unrest, including some protests that resulted in local business being burned and looted. Protests again turned violent Nov. 24, when St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch publicly announced that the grand jury investigating the case had decided there wasn’t enough evidence to indict Wilson. Wilson has since resigned from the department.

“In Plaintiff’s view, the current information available about the grand jurors’ views is not entirely accurate – especially the implication that all grand jurors believed that there was no support for any charges,” the lawsuit says

Nixon Activates National Guard in Front of Ferguson Grand Jury Decision
November 17, 2014

(AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday and activated the National Guard ahead of a grand jury decision about whether a white police officer will be charged in the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Nixon said the National Guard would assist state and local police in case the grand jury’s decision leads to a resurgence of the civil unrest that occurred in the days immediately after the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

“All people in the St. Louis region deserve to feel safe in their communities and to make their voices heard without fear of violence or intimidation,” Nixon said in a written statement.

There is no specific date for a grand jury decision to be revealed, and Nixon gave no indication that an announcement is imminent. But St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch has said that he expects the grand jury to reach a decision in mid-to-late November.

The U.S. Justice Department, which is conducting a separate investigation, has not said when its work will be completed.

National Guard Sent to Ferguson, Autopsy: Brown Shot 6 Times
August 18, 2014

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) – Missouri’s governor on Monday ordered the National Guard to a St. Louis suburb convulsed by protests over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen, after a night in which police used tear gas to clear protesters off the streets well ahead of a curfew.

Gov. Jay Nixon said the National Guard would help “in restoring peace and order” to Ferguson, where protests over the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer entered their second week. Police said they acted in response to gunfire, looting, vandalism and protesters who hurled Molotov cocktails.

“These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served and to feel safe in their own homes,” Nixon said in a statement.

The latest confrontations came on the same day Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on Brown, and as a preliminary private autopsy reported by The New York Times found Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head.

As night fell in Ferguson Sunday, another peaceful protest quickly deteriorated and the streets were empty well before the midnight curfew.

“Based on the conditions, I had no alternative but to elevate the level of response,” said Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who is in charge of security in Ferguson. At least two people were wounded in shootings by civilians, he said.

The “extraordinary circumstances” surrounding Brown’s death and a request by his family prompted the Justice Department’s decision to conduct a third autopsy, agency spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement. The examination was to take place as soon as possible, Fallon said.

The results of a state-performed autopsy would be taken into account along with the federal examination in the Justice Department’s ongoing civil rights investigation, Fallon said.

Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City chief medical examiner, told The New York Times that one of the bullets entered the top of Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when he suffered a fatal injury.

Brown also was shot four times in the right arm, and all the bullets were fired into his front, Baden said.

The Justice Department already had deepened its investigation into the shooting. A day earlier, officials said 40 FBI agents were going door-to-door gathering information in the Ferguson neighborhood where Brown was shot to death Aug. 9.

A federally conducted autopsy “more closely focused on entry point of projectiles, defensive wounds and bruises” might help that investigation, said David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor who supervised the criminal civil rights section of Miami’s U.S. attorney’s office.

Federal authorities also want to calm any public fears that no action will be taken on the case, Weinstein said.

Police have said little about the encounter between Brown and the officer, except to say that it involved a scuffle in which the officer was injured and Brown was shot. Witnesses say the teenager had his hands in the air as the officer fired multiple rounds.

Sunday’s clashes in Ferguson erupted three hours before the curfew imposed by Nixon. Officers in riot gear ordered all the protesters to disperse, and many did, but about 100 stood about two blocks away until getting hit by another volley of tear gas.

Protesters laid a line of cinder blocks across the street in an apparent attempt to block police vehicles, which easily plowed through. Someone set a trash bin on fire, and the crackle of gunfire could be heard from several blocks away.

Within two hours, most people had been cleared off West Florissant Avenue, one of the community’s main thoroughfares. The streets remained quiet as the curfew began. It was to remain in effect until 5 a.m.