Federal civil rights charges are unlikely to be brought against Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, the Washington Post reported Friday, citing anonymous sources. But the Justice Department is pushing back strongly against the report, calling it “irresponsible.”
Law enforcement officials told the Post that the Justice investigation hadn’t yielded the evidence necessary to bring any federal civil rights charges against Wilson.
“The evidence at this point does not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson,” one source said. Another agreed: “The evidence we have makes federal civil rights charges unlikely.”
But the investigation remains open, and a Justice Department spokesman used strong language to rebuff what those sources told the Post.
“This is an irresponsible report by The Washington Post that is based on idle speculation,” spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement to the newspaper.
The St. Louis County grand jury has also not yet decided whether Wilson will face state criminal charges for Brown’s death. Leaks about the grand jury have been a point of contention between the local prosecutor and the Justice Department.