Friday, January 23, 2015

rule of law: no consequences for extrajudicial murder by former overseer wilson in ferguson


NYTimes |  Mr. Holder said that the Justice Department’s investigation into Mr. Brown’s death would be independent from the one conducted by the local authorities. While the F.B.I. and local officials conducted some interviews together and shared evidence, the analysis and decision-making were separate. Mr. Holder resisted calls from local officials to announce his conclusion alongside the county prosecutor last year, in part because he did not want it to appear as if they had reached their decisions together.

Federal investigators interviewed more than 200 people and analyzed cellphone audio and video, the law enforcement officials said. Officer Wilson’s gun, clothing and other evidence were analyzed at the F.B.I.’s laboratory in Quantico, Va. Though the local authorities and Mr. Brown’s family conducted autopsies, Mr. Holder ordered a separate autopsy, which was conducted by pathologists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s office at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the officials said.

The federal investigation did not uncover any facts that differed significantly from the evidence made public by the authorities in Missouri late last year, the law enforcement officials said. To bring federal civil rights charges, the Justice Department would have needed to prove that Officer Wilson had intended to violate Mr. Brown’s rights when he opened fire, and that he had done so willfully — meaning he knew that it was wrong to fire but did so anyway.

The Justice Department plans to release a report explaining its decision, though it is not clear when. Dena Iverson, a department spokeswoman, declined to comment on the case Wednesday.
The Ferguson investigation drew Mr. Holder into the spotlight on the issue of race, one he cares about deeply. He traveled to Ferguson, spoke of his experiences as a victim of racial profiling and emerged as a peacemaker during the tense days after the shooting, when the police used tear gas on demonstrators and the National Guard was summoned.

The shooting also inflamed longstanding tensions between Ferguson’s black residents and the police. Residents told investigators that the police used traffic citations in minority neighborhoods as a way to raise money for the city.

“These anecdotal accounts underscored the history of mistrust of law enforcement in Ferguson,” Mr. Holder said in September after returning from Ferguson, a suburb about 10 miles northwest of St. Louis.

It is not clear when the broader civil rights inquiry of the police department, known as a pattern or practice investigation, will be completed. Under Mr. Holder, prosecutors have opened more than 20 such investigations nationwide. The Justice Department recently called for sweeping changes to the Cleveland Police Department and negotiated an independent monitor to oversee the department in Albuquerque.