Content thumbnail DOJ Report on Shooting of Michael Brown
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I. Introduction At approximately noon on Saturday, August 9, 2014, Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department (“FPD”) shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18­year­old. The Criminal Section of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) (collectively, “The Department”) subsequently opened a criminal investigation into whether the shooting violated federal law. The Department has determined that the evidence does not support charging a violation of federal law. This memorandum details the Department’s investigation, findings, and conclusions. Part I provides an introduction and overview. Part II summarizes the federal investigation and the evidence uncovered during the course of the investigation, and discusses the applicable federal criminal civil rights law and standards of federal prosecution. Part III provides a more in­depth summary of the evidence. Finally, Part IV provides a detailed legal analysis of the evidence and explains why the evidence does not support an indictment of Darren Wilson. The Department conducted an extensive investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown. Federal authorities reviewed physical, ballistic, forensic, and crime scene evidence; medical reports and autopsy reports, including an independent autopsy performed by the United States Department of Defense Armed Forces Medical Examiner Service (“AFMES”); Wilson’s personnel records; audio and video recordings; and internet postings. FBI agents, St. Louis County Police Department (“SLCPD”) detectives, and federal prosecutors and prosecutors from the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office (“county prosecutors”) worked cooperatively to both independently and jointly interview more than 100 purported eyewitnesses and other individuals claiming to have relevant information. SLCPD detectives conducted an initial canvass of the area on the day of the shooting. FBI agents then independently canvassed more than 300 residences to locate and interview additional witnesses. Federal and local authorities collected cellular phone data, searched social media sites, and tracked down dozens of leads from community members and dedicated law enforcement email addresses and tip lines in an effort to investigate every possible source of information. The principles of federal prosecution, set forth in the United States Attorneys’ Manual (“USAM”), require federal prosecutors to meet two standards in order to seek an indictment. First, we must be convinced that the potential defendant committed a federal crime. See USAM § 9­27.220 (a federal prosecution should be commenced only when an attorney for the government “believes that the person’s conduct constitutes a federal offense”). Second, we must also conclude that we would be likely to prevail at trial, where we must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. See USAM § 9­27.220 (a federal prosecution should be commenced only when “the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to sustain a conviction”); Fed R. Crim P. 29(a)(prosecution must present evidence sufficient to sustain a conviction). Taken 4

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