The family of Michael Brown is considering a civil suit against the police officer who shot him in the wake of news that a Department of Justice investigation is preparing to recommend no civil rights charges be brought against the officer.
Anthony Gray, an attorney representing the Brown family, confirmed that the family is considering a civil suit against Darren Wilson, the police officer whose fatal shooting of Brown in Ferguson, Missouri , led to protests last year.
“That is an option that is available,” Gray said. “They have not made a decision to move forward at this point, [but] that is an option that is always on the table.”
Officials are said to have told the New York Times and CNN that after federal investigators interviewed more than 200 people, analysed cellphone audio and video evidence and examined Wilson’s clothing and gun, the department would publish a memo stating that no action should be taken against him.
A third autopsy performed by pathologists from the armed forces medical examiner’s office did not uncover anything that differed significantly from what was previously discovered by postmortems conducted by St Louis County and pathologists recruited by Brown’s family.
The conclusion of the Department of Justice investigation, which was launched by the US attorney general, Eric Holder , amid allegations from Ferguson residents of racial bias among local authorities, is likely to mean that Wilson will not face prosecution for the shooting. A grand jury in Missouri decided in November not to bring state charges against him.
Ashley Yates, a co-founder of Millennial Activists United who also works with BlackLivesMatter and Ferguson Action, said: “The definition of civil rights is no deprivation of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness without due process of law, and I can’t think of any deprivation of that greater than the killing of innocent citizens in the streets.”
“Michael Brown didn’t get any due process … For the government to take this loss of life and find that no deprivation of rights has taken place is curious,” Yates added.
A separate Department of Justice investigation into whether there was a “pattern or practice” of discriminatory behaviour and use of excessive force by Ferguson police remains ongoing.
Wilson’s shooting of Brown last August set off a wave of protests both locally and across the country. The grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson led to a night of rioting and arson and reignited tensions in the region.
The federal investigation into Wilson would have needed to prove that Wilson intended to violate Brown’s civil rights; it was widely expected among protesters and supporters of Wilson to return no charges.
Ron Hosko, a former assistant director of the FBI and the president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, said in a statement that the Department of Justice knew from the very beginning that no violation of civil rights had occurred.
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