Wednesday, March 4, the Justice Department said that it would not prosecute Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who gunned down unarmed Michael Brown, 18, in broad daylight.
This announcement comes the day after the DOJ released a 100-page report that was a surprise to no one, describing how the Ferguson Police Department displayed a pattern of civil rights violations (specifically the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments), blatant racism and glaring prejudice.
Fresh still are the images from last summer of days of civil unrest, crowds of angry people, armed police and armored vehicles in the streets of Ferguson. The frustrated residents were responding to the Aug. 9, 2014, killing, after which the dead teen lay in the street under the blazing sun for four and a half hours.
Yet, the DOJ stated that it did not have enough evidence to prove that the officer did not act in self-defense.
“This is why we consider the racism and the police abuse a systemic problem,” said New York State
Assemblyman Charles Barron, “We see that we cannot get the courts or the feds to bring justice. And once justice is continually denied like this, the people are going to use extreme measures, because when peaceful demonstrations fail to bring justice, a violent response is inevitable.”
“As detailed in our report, this investigation found a community that was deeply polarized, and where deep distrust and hostility often characterized interactions between police and area residents,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “Our investigation showed that Ferguson police officers routinely violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause and using unreasonable force against them. Now that our investigation has reached its conclusion, it is time for Ferguson’s leaders to take immediate, wholesale and structural corrective action.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network said that it is “deeply disappointed with the decision by the DOJ, that they have cleared officer Darren Wilson of civil rights charges in the death of Michael Brown. We hope that the Justice Department’s finding that the Ferguson Police Department had a pattern and practice that violates the First, Fourth, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, will result in an overhaul of the department.
“We will not be discouraged as we continue to fight for the family of Eric Garner as they await the decision in the federal investigation of his death. We will continue to push for legislation and policies that protect the rights of all citizens.”