Darren Wilson will likely avoid federal civil rights charges for shooting an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri law enforcement sources said late this week.
Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown after police say the teenager lunged at officers. But some witnesses claimed that Brown was standing with his hands raised in the air when he was shot, setting off weeks of large and often contentious protests in the city.
In the wake of the shooting and the ensuing demonstrations, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to Ferguson to meet with city leaders and protest organizers. Holder vowed that the federal government would open a civil rights investigation in the death of Michael Brown, but now it appears that the investigation won’t lead to charges for officer Darren Wilson.
“The evidence at this point does not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson,” one person briefed on the investigation told the Washington Post.
The Justice Department lashed out against the report, saying that the investigation is still open and calling the Washington Post “irresponsible” for reporting on speculation.
Darren Wilson could still face state charges but leaks from law enforcement sources seem to indicate that a grand jury will not return an indictment against the officer. The internet activist group Anonymous also reported that an indictment is unlikely.
“LEAKED: Based on 2 reliable confidential sources we now confirm an imminent announcement that the Grand Jury will NOT indict Darren Wilson,” the group tweeted.
“We’ve discussed this [investigation] & feel its[sic] safe to reveal that one of our sources for the leak is a gov. employee with access to police communications,” the group added.
Police in Ferguson have already prepared for the likelihood that the grand jury will not indict officer Darren Wilson. They have reportedly been stocking up on riot gear and preparing for what could be large-scale riots. There is even speculation that law enforcement officials have purposely been leaking news that the grand jury will not indict Wilson in order to prepare protesters for the news when it becomes official.