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Why Officer Wilson Probably Won’t Go to Jail

As Michael Brown is laid to rest on Monday, questions remain about the police shooting that took the life of the unarmed African-American teenager some two weeks ago. Was Brown savagely and unjustifiably gunned down by white police Officer Darren Wilson, as some contend? Did Wilson—who reportedly sustained some kind of facial injury during an altercation with Brown—act appropriately in the heat of a confrontation in which Brown reportedly reached for the officer’s gun?

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. took the unusual step of travelling to Ferguson to coordinate a Justice Department investigation into the shooting, which was already being probed by local and state law enforcement agencies. Holder’s presence instilled confidence in many that justice will be done. For some—especially long aggrieved minority communities with a long history of uneasy and often violent relationships with police—that will only be achieved with Wilson’s conviction. But there are long odds against that.