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Prosecutors decline to charge Ferguson, Mo., officer who killed Michael Brown

A makeshift memorial sits in the middle of the street in Ferguson, Mo., in honor of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. After reopening the investigation into Brown's death, the St. Louis County prosecutor declined to charge former officer Darren Wilson. File Photo by David Broome/UPI
A makeshift memorial sits in the middle of the street in Ferguson, Mo., in honor of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. After reopening the investigation into Brown's death, the St. Louis County prosecutor declined to charge former officer Darren Wilson. File Photo by David Broome/UPI | License Photo

July 30 (UPI) -- St. Louis County won't charge the former Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed teen Michael Brown after quietly opening a new investigation into the six-year-old case, officials said Thursday.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell announced the decision not to push forward with an indictment for Darren Wilson.

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"This is one of the most difficult things I've had to do as an elected official," Bell said during a news conference.

"Although this case represents one of the most significant moments in St. Louis' history, the question to this office is a simple one: Could we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that when Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown he committed murder or manslaughter under Missouri law?" Bell said. "After an independent and in-depth review of the evidence, we cannot prove that he did."

Wilson shot Brown, 18, on Aug. 9, 2014, after the officer pursued the teen and his friend on suspicion of stealing from a market. Wilson reported that Brown stopped and rushed toward his police vehicle, attacking the officer and attempting to grab his firearm before it went off.

Brown's friend, Dorian Johnson, denied Wilson's version of events, saying that Brown turned toward the police vehicle with his hands up after Wilson shot at his back.

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Multiple autopsies showed Brown was shot six times all from the front.

Brown's death and Wilson's subsequent lack of indictment touched off weeks of protests -- some violent -- against police brutality and racial bias.

Bell said he reopened the case upon request from Brown's parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lezley McSpadden.

"I know this is not the result they were looking for, and that their pain will continue forever," Bell said. "This is a time for us to reflect on Michael's life, to support Michael's family, and honor a transformative movement that will forever be linked to his name."

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