Congress in St. Louis, Mo., the prosecutor said Thursday he will not be charging the white police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014, after he quietly reopened the investigation.
Civil rights leaders and Brown’s mother allegedly hoped that Attorney Attorney Wesley Bell, who became the county’s first Black prosecutor in January 2019, could reopen the investigation at the police officer Darren Wilson, who shot Brown six years ago.
Bell told reporters today that his decision was “one of the hardest things I had to do.”
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But after a five-month investigation into the evidence of the case, witness statements and forensic reports, he came to the conclusion that “we cannot prove that he” committed murder or manslaughter.
The massive demonstrations that followed Brown’s shooting helped strengthen the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, Mo., and across the country.
A federal investigation and a grand jury removed Wilson from all charges a month after Brown̵7;s death in 2014.
Bell faced no attack when he re-reviewed the investigation into Brown’s shooting because Wilson was never charged or tried, and there are no statutes of limitations on murder charges.
Brown, accompanied by his friend, was said to be walking halfway down the street in a residential neighborhood by Wilson, when Brown approached the police vehicle. In the entire altercation, which lasted about 90 seconds, Wilson fired a total of twelve bullets, six of which hit Brown in front of his body.
Witnesses said Brown, who was unarmed, had his hands on when he was killed, but federal investigators and the grand jury said the evidence shows otherwise.
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Brown’s body was left on the road for four hours, causing outrage among his family and local residents, leading to the furious protests that ensued.
“Although this case represents one of the most significant moments in St. Louis history, the question for this office was a simple one: We can show beyond a reasonable doubt that when Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown he committed murder or murder under Missouri law? ”Mr Bell said at a press conference Thursday.
“After an independent and in-depth examination of the evidence, we cannot show that he did.”
Bell noted that simply because Wilson was not found guilty of murder or manslaughter, he was not acquitted.
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“There are so many points at which Darren Wilson could have handled the situation differently and if he had, Michael Brown could still be alive,” Bell said.
The Justice Department did not accept Wilson, but issued a highly critical report noting racial bias in the Ferguson police department and county courts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.