[JURIST] A US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] report [text] released Wednesday says the department will not prosecute Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson police officer who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown last August. According to the report, the DOJ found that there is “no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson’s stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety.” In a press release on the matter, US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] indicated that this was not an absolution of the Ferguson police force [press release], citing numerous constitutional violations uncovered during the six-month investigation [JURIST report], including a pattern of excessive force and arrests without probable cause. Ferguson is currently in negotiations with the DOJ [WP report] to change police practices; failure to reach a settlement could lead to a civil lawsuit against Ferguson for the conduct of its law enforcement.
The death of Michael Brown [USA Today report; JURIST news archive], an African American teenager, has prompted mass protests calling for race equality and an end to police brutality. In January St. Louis County Judge Maura McShane denied a new grand jury review of the case against Wilson [JURIST report], claiming that she was prohibited from considering the request. In October Amnesty International reported that police in Ferguson committed human rights abuses [JURIST report] against peaceful protesters. Earlier in October a federal judge ruled that a tactic employed by police to control protesters in Ferguson in August was unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] against the “five second rule” which prohibited protesters from standing in place for more than five seconds. In late August five people brought a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson [JURIST report] for the use of unnecessary and unwarranted force by St. Louis County Police and Ferguson Police.