In this fact-checking video, CNN’s Jake Tapper explains the Obama-era Department of Justice’s finding that Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer in “self-defense,” not “murdered,” as Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris claimed.
Harris and Warren both tweeted on Aug. 9, the fifth anniversary of Brown’s death. Harris tweeted, “Michael Brown’s murder forever changed Ferguson and America. His tragic death sparked a desperately needed conversation and a nationwide movement.” Warren tweeted: “5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times.”
But an Obama administration investigation found that “the evidence does not support an indictment of Darren Wilson,” the officer who shot Brown.
The shots Wilson fired “were in self-defense and thus were not objectively unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment,” which prohibits unreasonable seizures and use of force, the 86-page Justice Department report said. It concluded that Wilson’s “actions do not constitute prosecutable violations under the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute, 18 U.S.C. § 242, which prohibits uses of deadly force that are ‘objectively unreasonable,’ as defined by the United States Supreme Court.”
A separate report from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division in 2015, however, found that the Ferguson Police Department exhibited “a pattern of unconstitutional policing.”
For more of our analysis of what the DOJ report said about Brown’s death, read “Harris, Warren Wrong About Brown Shooting.”
See our past collaborations with CNN’s “State of the Union” on our website.