The FBI will recommend that no civil rights charges be brought against the white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August, after a bureau investigation found no evidence to support charges against him.
According to the Associated Press and The New York Times, the FBI has completed its investigation into Officer Darren Wilson's shooting of the 18-year-old Brown — which set off nationwide protests — and have begun work on a legal memo.
Officials and experts have said such a prosecution against former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would be highly unlikely, in part because of the extraordinarily high legal standard federal prosecutors would need to meet.
According to The New York Times, quoting unnamed law enforcement officials, the federal investigation did not find out anything that differed significantly from the evidence presented by authorities in Missouri last year. The newspaper also reported that the Justice Department is planning on releasing a report on its decision.
A U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the case by name and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson declined to comment to either news organization.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Michael Brown's family, said in a statement that the family would not address speculation from anonymous officials and was waiting for an official Justice Department announcement.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson and Mayor James Knowles said Wednesday that they had no information about the status of the investigation, according to AP.
Wilson was cleared in November by a grand jury in the Aug. 9 death of Brown — a shooting that touched off protests in the streets and became part of a national conversation about race relations and police departments that patrol minority neighborhoods.
Wilson told the St. Louis County grand jury that he feared for his life during the confrontation with Brown and that the teen struck him in the face and reached for his gun. Some witnesses have said Brown had his hands up when Wilson shot him.
To mount a federal prosecution, the Justice Department would need to show that Wilson willfully deprived Brown of his civil rights. That criterion, which means prosecutors must prove that an officer knowingly used more force than the law allowed, is challenging for the government to meet. Multiple high-profile police-involved deaths, including the 1999 shooting in New York City of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant have not resulted in federal charges.
Wilson, who had been on administrative leave since the shooting, resigned days after the grand jury decision was announced. A lawyer for Wilson did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.