Watch CBS News

Justice Dept. close to clearing officer in Ferguson shooting

No charges are expected to be filed against former Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson
Ferguson officer expected to avoid civil rights charges 01:39

WASHINGTON -- Federal civil rights charges are not expected to be filed against the white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer.

Law enforcement officials confirm to CBS News the FBI has completed its investigation into the fatal shooting by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The bureau has forwarded its recommendations to the Justice Department with "no charges expected."

Sources say the FBI interviewed more than 200 people, and agents have reviewed numerous surveillance tapes and cell phone videos which captured part of the fatal incident, and determined there was no evidence that Wilson broke any federal civil rights laws.

Protesters march with message against excessive force 04:18

The Aug. 9, 2014 shooting sparked protests around the country over the use of force by police officers, amplified by a Missouri grand jury's decision in November not to indict Wilson.

Demonstrations also erupted following a similar grand jury decision in the police chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed New York City black man. The protests stoked fierce debates about the relationship between law enforcement and black men in America.

The Justice Department would not directly comment to CBS News on the case Wednesday. Attorney General Eric Holder had previously stated he wanted to complete the probe before leaving office.

"The family of Michael Brown, Jr. will wait for official word from the Justice Department regarding whether or not any charges will be filed against the police officer who shot and killed him," Benjamin L. Crump, the attorney representing Brown's family, said a statement Wednesday evening. "The family won't address speculation from anonymous sources."

New evidence released from Ferguson grand jury 02:54

A broader investigation into the practices of the Ferguson Police Department continues. Prosecutors are trying to determine if the largely white Ferguson force has demonstrated a history of discrimination and racial profiling in the majority black community.

Earlier this month, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund asked a Missouri judge to convene a new grand jury to consider charges against Wilson, citing "grave legal concerns" with the original case. It also requested that a special prosecutor be appointed to oversee the case and for an investigation to be launched into the grand jury proceedings.

One of the grand jury members has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch, contending that he has wrongly implied that all 12 jurors believed there was no support for any charges. The unnamed juror wants to be allowed to talk publicly about the case but could face charges for doing so because of a lifetime gag order.

Marc Morial: Protesters seeking police reform, accountability 04:18

In the suit, filed on the juror's behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union, the juror also says he or she came away with the impression that evidence was presented differently than in other cases, with the insinuation that Brown -- not Wilson -- was the wrongdoer. The plaintiff wants to speak about whether St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch's release of records truly provided transparency and raised questions whether the grand jury was clearly counseled on the law.

In a December interview, McCullough said some witnesses who testified before the grand jury "clearly" lied under oath, but that they would not be charged with perjury.

Throughout the state investigation, critics called for McCulloch to either step aside or for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor, citing concerns about whether McCulloch could fairly oversee the case. McCulloch's father was a police officer killed in the line of duty by a black assailant in the 1960s.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.