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Ferguson Documents: Justice Investigation Backs Former Officer Wilson

When a grand jury decided not charge former Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Ferguson, Mo., ended up in flames.

Protesters decried the injustice and faced off violently with police officers and the National Guardsmen who were brought in to ensure peace.

Robert McCulloch, the prosecuting attorney in the case, also decided to release reams of documents with the evidence presented to the grand jury.

The documents did not come with expert analysis, instead it was left up to independent experts, the media and the general public to sift through the politics, contradictory testimony and detailed forensics to come up with a conclusion.

Needless today, it raised as many questions as it answered.

Today, however, the Justice Department also cleared Wilson, issued its report on the matter and it came to a concrete conclusion: While acknowledging some discrepancies in witness statements, there is no evidence to disprove Wilson's version of events.

"Not only do eyewitnesses and physical evidence corroborate Wilson's account, but there is no credible evidence to disprove Wilson's perception that Brown posed a threat to Wilson as Brown advanced toward him," the report concludes. "Accordingly, seeking his indictment is not permitted by Department of Justice policy or governing law."

We've sifted through a lot of the evidence released last November. In this post, we'll highlight the conclusions made by federal investigators:

-- Radio dispatches from Wilson indicate he was aware that there had been a robbery a few moments before:

-- On how the confrontation started, the Justice Department says that forensic evidence backs Wilson's testimony that Brown reached into his truck and punched him:

-- Physical evidence fairly conclusively indicates Brown was not shot in the back:

-- According to physical evidence and credible witnesses, Brown was moving — probably not merely falling — toward Wilson when he fired after he left his vehicle.

-- Did Brown have his hands up? Brown's intent is still a little fuzzy, but physical evidence says he died with one hand balled up near his waist, the other palm out to his side:

-- The bottom line? There is no reason to doubt Wilson's story.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.