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.