(KMOV.com) – A legal expert told News 4 federal investigators will try to determine if Darren Wilson violated Michael Brown’s civil rights.
The law reads:
Whoever, under color of any law, willfully subjects any person to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States would face prosecution, and if death results from the acts committed, the accused could be imprisoned for up to the rest of his life or may be sentenced to death.
Roger Goldman, a professor emeritus at Saint Louis University, said such a case would be tough to prove.
An example is the Rodney King case in Los Angeles, in which officers were caught on tape beating King with batons and tazers. Four officers were charged in California state court, but all were acquitted. The verdict prompted riots blamed for more than 50 deaths and 600 buildings being damaged or destroyed.
The four officers were later prosecuted on federal civil rights charges, but only two officers were convicted.
The federal investigation of the Brown shooting will likely take longer than the St. Louis County grand jury, which is expected to reach a decision on whether to indict Wilson in November.