Ferguson, MO – St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell announced Thursday that he had secretly re-investigated the shooting death of Michael Brown by former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson and nothing had changed.
Bell told reporters at an afternoon press conference that he had done a five-month review of the Brown case and could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Wilson committed murder or manslaughter under Missouri law, KTVI reported.
Brown’s father, Michael Brown, Sr., asked that the case and investigation be re-opened on the fifth anniversary of his son’s death in August of 2019 and the new prosecutor acquiesced.
But Bell said his investigation did not come up with evidence to disprove Officer Wilson had acted against Brown in self-defense, KTVI reported.
“Because of the significance of this case to this community, and because his family asked, I believed it was necessary to conduct a reexamination of this case and come to our own conclusion if Darren Wilson committed a crime under Missouri law when he shot Michael Brown,” he said
“Our newly-formed conviction and incident review unit conducted a five-month review of the evidence, examining thousands of pages of witness statements, forensic reports and other evidence,” the prosecutor explained, according to KTVI.
The incident that led to Brown’s shooting began when he and his friend, Dorian Johnson, committed a strong-arm robbery of a neighborhood convenience store on Aug. 9, 2014, according to the Los Angeles Times when the U.S. Department of Justice released its report.
Then-Officer Wilson saw the pair walking down the middle of Canfield Drive.
He was unaware they had just committed a robbery and told them to get out of the street.
Then Brown approached the police car and attacked Officer Wilson as the officer sat in his car.
The officer and Brown struggled through the window of the police car, and Brown tried to take his gun.
Officer Wilson shot Brown in the hand, and Brown and Johnson fled.
But then Brown turned and charged back towards Officer Wilson and was shot.
Johnson put out a false narrative after the officer-involved shooting that claimed Brown had his hands up and was running away when Officer Wilson shot him.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) proved otherwise, and Johnson eventually recanted, but not before Black Lives Matter boosted its cause on the back of misreporting that initially followed the Brown shooting.
“Hands up, don’t shoot” became the rallying cry of hundreds of protesters who rioted and burned Ferguson, and then several other cities, since Brown’s death.
Officer Wilson was cleared of wrongdoing by a St. Louis County grand jury and a DoJ investigation under President Barack Obama’s administration.
The federal investigation concluded that the evidence supported Officer Wilson’s claim that he was acting in self-defense and that Brown was attacking him when the officer opened fire, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The new St. Louis county prosecutor explained to reporters that he basically could not come to a different conclusion, KTVI reported.
“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 Darin Wilson shot Michael Brown, he committed murder or manslaughter under Missouri law? After an independent and in-depth review of the evidence, we cannot prove that he did,” Bell said.
“By Missouri law, we would also have to disprove any self-defense claims beyond a reasonable doubt and we just could not get there with the evidence,” he told reporters.
An attorney representing Brown’s father told KTVI that Michael Brown, Sr. “did not leave there happy. Anything short of justice… Wilson being held criminally responsible… would be disappointing.”
“Out of respect for Michael Brown and his family, I do not plan to relitigate the evidence in this case,” Bell said. “These facts have been aired in public time and again. This is a time to reflect on Michael’s life, to support his family, and to honor a transformative moment that will forever be linked to his name.”
“My heart breaks for his father Michael Brown Senior and his mother Lesley McSpadden. I know this is not the result they were looking for and that their pain continues forever,” he added.