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No Charges for Ferguson Officer Who Killed Michael Brown, New Prosecutor Says

A memorial stood on the spot where Michael Brown was killed by the police in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014.

Even without a criminal prosecution,...

Even without a criminal prosecution, Mr. Brown’s death brought attention to police killings of Black people. It also forced many police departments to consider new reforms, like making officers wear body cameras, and other changes in the criminal justice system, like ending cash bail. An investigation by the Justice Department found that law enforcement in Ferguson regularly violated the rights of Black people, leading to changes in laws, and how courts and cities operate.

Mr. Bell himself is a product of the change brought on by Mr. Brown’s death. Activists heavily criticized the longtime prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, who led the grand jury process that resulted in no indictment. Mr. Bell, who is Black, unseated Mr. McCulloch in the Democratic primary[1] two years ago as part of a nationwide wave of reform-minded people of color winning prosecutor races. Ferguson elected its first Black mayor[2], Ella Jones, this year.

But as Mr. Bell left the lectern on Thursday, a man yelled at him, saying he would be voted out and criticizing his decision not to charge Mr. Wilson.

Mr. Brown’s name — among those of other Black people killed by the police — was frequently shouted by protesters or etched onto cardboard signs during weeks of recent protests that rapidly extended across the country after Mr. Floyd was killed in May.

Those Black Lives Matter protests, which are continuing in places like Portland, Ore.[3], may make up the largest protest movement in United States history[4]; polls have indicated that between 15 million and 26 million people have taken part in the demonstrations. Four officers have been charged in Mr. Floyd’s death, including one, Derek Chauvin, who was charged with murder[5] after a video showed his knee lodged against Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs contributed reporting.

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2020-08-10

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