After reviewing the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell announced on Thursday that he will not file any charges of murder or manslaughter against Darren Wilson, the former police officer who fatally shot Brown.
Bell took office in January 2019, and said he decided to reexamine the case after requests from the Brown family and community. Brown, an 18-year-old Black man, was shot by Wilson, who is white, following a scuffle. The incident sparked days of protests and unrest in Ferguson. A grand jury later declined to indict Wilson, who claimed he shot Brown in self-defense.
"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 said. "After an independent and in-depth review of the evidence, we cannot prove that he did." Still, he added, "our investigation does not exonerate Darren Wilson."
Bell's office spent five months reviewing forensic reports, witness statements, and other pieces of evidence, and because there is no statute of limitations on filing murder charges and Wilson was never charged and tried, double jeopardy was not an issue, The Associated Press reports.
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