Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, in Ferguson, Mo., in August because he feared for his life after Brown first tried to grab his gun and then came toward him in a threatening manner, according to a Justice Department report released Wednesday.
“Given that Wilson’s account is corroborated by physical evidence and that his perception of a threat posed by Brown is corroborated by other eyewitnesses . . . there is no credible evidence that Wilson willfully shot Brown as he was attempting to surrender or was otherwise not posing a threat,” officials concluded in the 86-page report. The review explained why the Justice Department will not pursue civil rights charges against Wilson for the fatal shooting.
A second scathing 102-page report, also released Wednesday, highlighted widespread racial bias by the 72-member Ferguson Police Department and described a system of using law enforcement to extract money from African American residents, a practice Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called “revenue generation through policing.”
The investigation found that Ferguson officers competed to see who could issue the largest number of citations during a single stop, and in one instance, that total rose to 14. Even minor code violations sometimes resulted in multiple arrests, jail time and payments that far exceeded the cost of the original ticket.