AI Content Chat (Beta) logo

yxwvutsrponmlkjihgfedcbaWVUTSRPONMLIHGFEDCBA color of law when he shot Brown, or that the shots resulted in Brown’s death. The determination of whether criminal prosecution is appropriate rests on whether there is sufficient evidence to establish that any of the shots fired by Wilson were unreasonable, as defined under federal law, given the facts known to Wilson at the time, and if so, whether Wilson fired the shots with the requisite “willful” criminal intent. i. The Shootings Were Not Objectively Unreasonable Uses of Force Under 18 U.S.C. § 242 In this case, the Constitutional right at issue is the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable seizures, which encompasses the right of an arrestee to be free from “objectively unreasonable” force. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396­97 (1989). “The ‘reasonableness’ of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” Id. at 396. “Careful attention” must be paid “to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.” Id. Allowance must be made for the fact that law enforcement officials are often forced to make split­second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving. Id. at 396­97. The use of deadly force is justified when the officer has “probable cause to believe that the suspect pose[s] a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others.” Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 11 (1985); see Nelson v. County of Wright, 162 F.3d 986, 990 (8th Cir. 1998); O’Bert v. Vargo, 331 F.3d 29, 36 (2d Cir. 2003) (same as Garner); Deluna v. City of Rockford, 447 F.3d 1008, 1010 (7th Cir. 2006), citing Scott v. Edinburg, 346 F.3d 752, 756 (7th Cir. 2003) (deadly force can be reasonably employed where an officer believes that the suspect’s actions place him, or others in the immediate vicinity, in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury). As detailed throughout this report, the evidence does not establish that the shots fired by Wilson were objectively unreasonable under federal law. The physical evidence establishes that Wilson shot Brown once in the hand, at close range, while Wilson sat in his police SUV, struggling with Brown for control of Wilson’s gun. Wilson then shot Brown several more times from a distance of at least two feet after Brown ran away from Wilson and then turned and faced him. There are no witness accounts that federal prosecutors, and likewise a jury, would credit to support the conclusion that Wilson fired at Brown from behind. With the exception of the two wounds to Brown’s right arm, which indicate neither bullet trajectory nor the direction in which Brown was moving when he was struck, the medical examiners’ reports are in agreement that the entry wounds from the latter gunshots were to the front of Brown’s body, establishing that Brown was facing Wilson when these shots were fired. This includes the fatal shot to the top of Brown’s head. The physical evidence also establishes that Brown moved forward toward Wilson after he turned around to face him. The physical evidence is corroborated by multiple eyewitnesses. Applying the well­established controlling legal authority, including binding precedent from the United States Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, the evidence does 10

DOJ Report on Shooting of Michael Brown  - Page 10 DOJ Report on Shooting of Michael Brown Page 9 Page 11