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article imageSource: Feds say charges against Ferguson cop unlikely

By Nathan Salant     Nov 2, 2014 in Crime
Washington, D. C. - Reports from the U.S. capital indicate that federal prosecutors are likely not planning to bring civil rights charges against a white Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot an unarmed black teenager in August and set off riots and days of street protests.
U.S. Justice Department investigators have just about wrapped up their work on the case and do not believe there is enough evidence to prove that the officer, Darren Wilson, violated the civil rights of Michael Brown when the teen was shot and killed after a confrontation, the Washington Post reported.
"The evidence at this point does not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson," the source reportedly told the newspaper, according to the Reuters news service.
The Justice Department denied that any such decision had been made.
Spokesman Brian Fallon called the newspaper report "idle speculation," and an attorney for Brown's family said he would not comment on "something that is not official."
Wilson's attorney declined to comment, the Post said.
The Justice Department's decision, if confirmed, could spark a resumption of civil unrest that continued in the St. Louis suburb for weeks after the shooting.
Police clamped down on two nights of rioting that broke out immediately following Brown's death, but peaceful community demonstrations had continued nightly for at least two weeks.
Many of the nightly demonstrators had vowed to resume their protests if Wilson was not indicted.
The unrest served to raise the question of relations between blacks and whites in the United States to a national dialogue for the first time in decades, and highlighted the enormous advances made by black Americans in the 150 years since the Civil War.
But the debate also focused attention on society failings regarding race relations — in Ferguson, for example, a city of 21,000 with a black majority has a police force that is more than 95 percent white — and on the conduct of law enforcement personnel in communities across the country..
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week he expected the Justice Department investigation to be complete by the time he leaves office at the end of the year.
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