No Charges Brought Against Darren Wilson In Michael Brown Shooting, County’s First Black Prosector Says
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St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Wesley Bell announced on Thursday that he will not be bringing charges against former Ferguson Police Department officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot Michael Brown, 18, back in 2014.
During a Thursday press conference, Bell announced the news by prefacing it as “one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do,” noting that his “heart breaks” for the Browns.
“The question for this office was a simple one: Could we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that when Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown he committed murder or manslaughter under Missouri law?” Bell posed. “After an independent and in-depth review of the evidence, we cannot prove that he did.”
According to The Associated Press, activists and Brown’s family were hoping Bell, “the county’s first Black prosecutor, would reopen the case after he took office in January 2019.”
Bell said his office conducted “a five-month review of witness statements, forensic reports and other evidence,” the AP noted, adding that his investigation “does not exonerate Darren Wilson.”
“I know this is not the result they were looking for and that their pain will continue forever,” Bell stated.
Jim Towey, Wilson’s attorney, noted that Bell’s review “had the same conclusion” as Bell’s predecessor, a grand jury, and the U.S. Department of Justice: “There was no crime.”
“I am just hoping that everybody gets to have some closure, particularly the Brown family,” Towey said, according to the AP.
As highlighted by The Daily Wire, the chant “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” was popularized following Brown’s death, though it was found to be an inaccurate representation of the incident. The Obama Justice Department, in deciding not to prosecute Wilson, stated:
Although there are several individuals who have stated that Brown held his hands up in an unambiguous sign of surrender prior to Wilson shooting him dead, their accounts do not support a prosecution of Wilson. As detailed throughout this report, some of those accounts are inaccurate because they are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence; some of those accounts are materially inconsistent with that witness’s own prior statements with no explanation, credible for otherwise, as to why those accounts changed over time. Certain other witnesses who originally stated Brown had his hands up in surrender recanted their original accounts, admitting that they did not witness the shooting or parts of it, despite what they initially reported either to federal or local law enforcement or to the media.
Moreover, The Washington Post has fact-checked prominent Democratic politicians who have claimed Brown was “murdered.”
“[Sen. Kamala] Harris and [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren have ignored the findings of the Justice Department to accuse Wilson of murder, even though the Justice Department found no credible evidence to support that claim,” said Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler. “Instead, the Justice Department found that the popular narrative was wrong, according to witnesses deemed to be credible, some of whom testified reluctantly because of fear of reprisal. The department produced a comprehensive report to determine what happened, making the senators’ dismissal of it even more galling. Harris and Warren both earn Four Pinocchios.”
Bell, the AP noted, “faced no restrictions in re-examining Brown’s death for potential murder charges. Wilson was never charged and tried, so double jeopardy was not an issue. There is no statute of limitations on filing murder charges.”