St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell announced on Thursday that his office could not find concrete evidence to charge Darren Wilson

By Gabrielle Chung
July 30, 2020 09:45 PM
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Michael Brown
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Darren Wilson — the former police officer who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 — will not be charged following a "reexamination" into the case, according to prosecutors.

St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Wesley Bell announced in a press conference on Thursday that his office could not find concrete evidence to charge Wilson with murder or manslaughter under Missouri law.

According to Bell, investigators conducted a "five-month review" of the incident "because of the significance of this case to this community and because the family asked."

"Although this case represents one of the most significant moments in St. Louis' history, 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," he said. "After an independent and in-depth review of the evidence, we cannot prove that he did."

Darren Wilson
St. Louis County prosecutor's office

The prosecutor added that his office does not intend to re-litigate the evidence in the case "out of respect for Michael Brown and his family."

However, Bell noted, "Our investigation does not exonerate Darren Wilson."

"The question of whether we can prove a case at trial is different than clearing him of any and all wrong-doings," he said.

Brown was fatally shot on Aug. 8, 2014 during an altercation with the police.

The incident sparked protests in the city and led to nationwide discussions over systemic racism and police brutality. At the time, critics called the slaying an act of racial prejudice, but Wilson — who resigned from the force in November 2014 — said that he acted in self-defense.

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In late 2014, a grand jury chose not to indict Wilson. The following year, the U.S. Department of Justice found insufficient evidence to prosecute Wilson and formally closed the investigation it conducted, saying in an 86-page report, “Wilson fired at Brown in what appeared to be self-defense and stopped firing once Brown fell to the ground.”

Brown's family filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Ferguson under the Missouri's wrongful death statute in 2015. The family settled with the city two years later for $1.5 million, NBC News reported.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.