Thursday, March 12, 2015

DOJ Report on Ferguson



"DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REPORT REGARDING THE
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE SHOOTING DEATH
OF MICHAEL BROWN BY FERGUSON, MISSOURI POLICE
OFFICER DARREN WILSON
MARCH 4, 2015

Page 78 Page 79


IV. Legal Analysis
The evidence discussed above does not meet the standards for presentation of an
indictment set forth in the USAM and in the governing federal law. The evidence is insufficient
to establish probable cause or to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242
and would not be likely to survive a defense motion for acquittal at trial pursuant to Federal Rule
of Criminal Procedure 29(a). This is true for all six to eight shots that struck Brown. Witness
accounts suggesting that Brown was standing still with his hands raised in an unambiguous
signal of surrender when Wilson shot Brown are inconsistent with the physical evidence, are
otherwise not credible because of internal inconsistencies, or are not credible because of
inconsistencies with other credible evidence. In contrast, Wilson’s account of Brown’s actions,
if true, would establish that the shootings were not objectively unreasonable under the relevant
Constitutional standards governing an officer’s use of deadly force. Multiple credible witnesses
corroborate virtually every material aspect of Wilson’s account and are consistent with the
physical evidence. Even if the evidence established that Wilson’s actions were unreasonable, the
government would also have to prove that Wilson acted willfully, i.e. that he acted with a
specific intent to violate the law. As discussed above, Wilson’s stated intent for shooting Brown
was in response to a perceived deadly threat. The only possible basis for prosecuting Wilson
under Section 242 would therefore be if the government could prove that his account is not true –
i.e., that Brown never punched and grabbed Wilson at the SUV, never struggled with Wilson
over the gun, and thereafter clearly surrendered in a way that no reasonable officer could have
failed to perceive. Not only do eyewitnesses and physical evidence corroborate Wilson’s
account, but there is no credible evidence to disprove Wilson’s perception that Brown posed a
threat to Wilson as Brown advanced toward him. Accordingly, seeking his indictment is not
permitted by Department of Justice policy or the governing law."

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