St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell on Thursday said charges would not be brought against the white former police officer who shot and killed Black teenager Michael Brown in 2014, citing a lack of evidence, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“Can we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred?” Bell, the top prosecutor in the county, said at a press conference. “The answer to that is no.”
Darren Wilson, the former officer, had previously been cleared by a grand jury and federal investigation. Bell on Thursday said while his office couldn’t prove Wilson committed a crime, it didn’t exonerate his actions.
Wilson resigned months after the shooting, which happened in the street as Wilson tried to stop the teenager for possible theft of some cigarillos from a convenience store. Several witnesses said Brown, 18, had his hands up in surrender when he died.
Wilson at the time said Brown had leaned into his patrol car, punched him and reached for his gun, then ran away, turned and charged at him.
“Although this case represents one of the most significant moments in St. Louis’s history, the question for this office was a simple one: Could we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that when Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown he committed murder or manslaughter under Missouri law?” Bell said. “After an independent and in-depth review of the evidence, we cannot prove that he did.”
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