No charges will be brought against the former Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, in 2014, St. Louis County’s top prosecutor announced Thursday.
The shooting set off a months-long uprising in the Missouri city that reverberated around the country, spotlighted racial inequality and police brutality, and helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement. The decision not to charge Darren Wilson, the White former officer, comes amid another round of nationwide protests over law enforcement treatment of Black people, sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The prosecutor, Wesley Bell — recently elected on a platform of reform — said his office conducted a five-month independent reexamination of the case and determined there was not enough evidence to bring charges.
“This is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do as an elected official,” Bell, the county’s first Black prosecutor, said at a news conference Thursday. “Michael Brown’s death exposed to the nation a deep-seated and long-standing pain felt by the greater St. Louis community and the entire country.”
Bell said his office reviewed witness statements, forensic reports and other evidence to determine whether they could prove Wilson committed murder or manslaughter.
“The only question is whether we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred,” Bell said. “The answer to that question is no.”
But the investigation “does not exonerate Darren Wilson,” he added.https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/07/30/prosecutor-will-not-charge-police-officer-who-shot-killed-michael-brown-ferguson/