Police Crime Scene

Proving a Case in the Ferguson Shooting

What would federal prosecutors have to prove in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri?

Some commentators have assumed that the police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, could be charged with a federal civil rights violation if he was negligent or reckless in assessing the need to use deadly force. This is not true for a federal civil rights prosecution. For the Justice Department to prevail in a federal civil rights prosecution in the Brown shooting, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the police officer acted with the specific intent to deprive Brown of his constitutional rights.

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