In its report, which came out Wednesday, the Times stated that the U.S. Justice Department is about to close the investigation into Brown’s shooting as it quoted law enforcement officials who said that federal prosecutors had begun work on a legal memo recommending no civil rights charges against Wilson. The memo is coming after an FBI investigation found no evidence to support charges against Wilson.
When asked about the report, the Justice Department declined comment. Reuters noted that the agency is still conducting a probe into the police force in Ferguson.
The Times’ report is the latest development to occur since a St. Louis County grand jury decided last year not to prosecute Wilson. Brown’s shooting last August triggered a wave of sometimes-violent protests in Ferguson as well as criticism of the treatment of blacks and other minority groups by police and the U.S. criminal justice system.
In response to the drama, Wilson resigned from the Ferguson police force in November, citing threats against fellow officers after the grand jury decision. He maintains that he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Brown.
Benjamin Crump, the lawyer representing Brown’s family said in a statement that the family would wait for official word from the Justice Department on whether or not any charges will be filed against Wilson.
“The family won’t address speculation from anonymous sources,” Crump said.
Neil Bruntrager, an attorney for Wilson, echoed Crump’s need for an official confirmation, saying that Wilson’s lawyers received no communications from the Justice Department and would not comment until there was a final determination.
“We don’t believe he has done anything that would merit any kind of a prosecution or any kind of civil rights claims and we are just awaiting the outcome like everybody else,” Bruntrager told Reuters in a telephone interview.
The events in Ferguson were among the topics addressed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Wednesday in his State of the State speech.
Although he acknowledged that a national debate on race, equality, economic opportunity and the criminal justice system stemmed from events in Ferguson, Nixon stated to lawmakers that more needed to be done.
“We need to support policies that foster racial understanding … and compassion,” Nixon said. “And we must recruit, train and certify professional law enforcement that reflects the diversity of the community it serves.”
Nixon recognized meaningful steps forward that had been taken as he revealed that $2.5 million would be spent to improve West Florissant Avenue, the location where several businesses were burned during the protests.