22 Jan 2015

Charges unlikely after Ferguson shooting - NYT

7:05 pm on 22 January 2015

The US Justice Department is reportedly about to close its investigation into the shooting dead of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, and clear the white police officer involved.

Demonstrators remember Michael Brown with a Martin Luther King Jr Day march on January 19, 2015.

Demonstrators remember Michael Brown with a Martin Luther King Jr Day march on January 19, 2015. Photo: AFP

The New York Times is quoting law enforcement officials as saying that federal prosecutors have begun work on a legal memo recommending no civil rights charges against the officer, Darren Wilson, after an FBI investigation found no evidence to support charges against him.

A St Louis County grand jury decided last year not to prosecute Mr Wilson.

The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown last August led to months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and galvanised critics of the treatment by police and the US criminal justice system of blacks and other minority groups.

A lawyer for Mr Brown's family, Benjamin Crump, said the family would wait for official word from the Justice Department on whether or not any charges will be filed against the police officer who shot and killed him.

"The family won't address speculation from anonymous sources," Crump said in a statement.

Neil Bruntrager, an attorney for Mr Wilson, said Mr Wilson's lawyers had received no communications from the Justice Department and would not comment until there was a final determination.

"We don't believe he has done anything that would merit any kind of a prosecution or any kind of civil rights claims and we are just awaiting the outcome like everybody else," Mr Bruntrager said in a telephone interview.

Mr Wilson, who said he was acting in self-defence when he fatally shot Mr Brown, resigned from the Ferguson police force in November, citing threats against fellow officers after the grand jury decision.

Shooting by police in Bridgeton

Meanwhile, a video has been released in the US showing a black man being shot dead by police officers as he stepped out of a car with his hands raised.

Jerame Reid was a passenger in a car pulled over in Bridgeton, New Jersey, on 30 December for going through a stop sign.

Before opening fire, one officer warns his partner about seeing a gun.

The case follows months of protests over the killings of unarmed black men by white police officers in New York and Ferguson.

However, one of the two officers involved in this latest altercation is black.

The killing has already sparked protests in Bridgeton, a city of about 25,000 people south of Philadelphia.

- Reuters / BBC

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