So Darren Wilson gets a pass for killing Michael Brown and blends back into society as if nothing ever happened? It looks that way. According to The New York Times, the U.S. Justice Department will likely clear Wilson of gunning down black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9.
Wilson, the white Ferguson, Missouri police officer, has already been cleared by a grand jury in Brown’s shooting. Wilson, who will not return to the Ferguson Police Department, wrote in his resignation letter that his “continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance I cannot allow.”
For many in the black community, the Justice Department investigation was the last resort. It’s the probe black folks have been waiting for. But an FBI investigation has found no evidence to support charges against Wilson, though a federal civil rights investigation into whether Ferguson police engaged in discriminatory traffic stops and used excessive force remains open, the Times reported.
“Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his civil rights chief, Vanita Gupta, will have the final say on whether the Justice Department will close the case against the officer, Darren Wilson. But it would be unusual for them to overrule the prosecutors on the case, who are still working on a legal memo explaining their recommendation,” the Times articled says.
It’s an unfortunate end to a tragic case. Both Holder and President Barack Obama have talked openly about their concern over confrontations between police and black men and said they understood the longstanding friction between police and the black community. When Holder landed in Ferguson, Missouri, last year, his rare and unprecedented visit sent a clear signal to the nation that Obama, America’s first Black president, and Holder, America’s first Black U.S. Attorney General, are also two high-profile Black fathers who understand the precarious racial dynamic in America.
Their definitive action and presence are an acknowledgment of the anger many Black folks are experiencing following Brown’s violent death.
“These anecdotal accounts underscored the history of mistrust of law enforcement in Ferguson,” Holder said in September. “I understand that mistrust. I am the Attorney General of the United States. But I am also a Black man,” Holder said in a meeting with community leaders. “I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over…. ‘Let me search your car’… Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me.”
There will obviously be many black folks who will be disappointed, angry and frustrated by the Justice Department’s decision to clear Wilson in a highly-emotional case that has led to riots and a national discussion on race and policing.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for 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. So where does the black community go from here? And what are the lessons learned from this investigatory process? For Michael Brown’s parents, there is still no justice, still no closure.
What do you think?