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US police officer who shot a black US teenager will not have charges brought against him

A FORMER police officer who shot dead a black teenager will not have charges brought against him, prosecutors in St Louis, Missouri, said on Thursday evening. 

The killing of Michael Brown in 2014 in the city’s Ferguson district triggered weeks of protests and led to the emergence of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. 

Police, eyewitness and family members continue to dispute what happened to the 18-year-old, who was shot at 12 times while walking down a street with a friend. 

While witnesses said that Mr Brown had his hands up following a struggle when he was shot, state and local investigators claimed that the evidence suggested otherwise.

In 2015, the Justice Department concluded that the officer involved, Darren Wilson, had fired in self-defence. 

Following five-month re-examination of the case, prosecutors said yesterday that they had not found enough evidence to bring charges of murder or manslaughter against the former officer. 

Prosecutor Wesley Bell said that they were unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt that a crime had occurred, but added that the investigation could also not exonerate the officer, who resigned soon after the killing.

“There are so many points at which Darren Wilson could have handled the situation differently, and if he had, Michael Brown might still be alive,” he said.

Alphonso David of the Human Rights Campaign said: “This decision reveals how woefully ill-prepared our justice system is for combating white supremacy. 

“We must continue to protest and we must continue to vote.”

Ferguson BLM activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham said that she was pained “that there is still a gaping wound” for Mr Brown’s family and stressed that the system must change.

“I’m not disappointed, I’m fed up and ever more committed, truth be told,” she said.

Scott Roberts, senior director of criminal justice campaign group Colour of Change, said Mr Bell’s announcement “perpetuates a criminal justice system that fails black communities by allowing police to operate with impunity.”

Leading St Louis activist and clergyman Darryl Gray said: “What came out of this is a recognition that the system is set up to protect police officers. 

“We now need to begin to address the legislation the police hide behind.”

With BLM protests against police brutality and racism continuing across the US, demonstrators raised their hands in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas for Mr Brown following Thursday’s announcement. 

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