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Feds won't press charges in Brandon Coleman shooting

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | 4:25 p.m. CST; updated 4:43 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 14, 2014

COLUMBIA — Criminal charges connected to possible civil rights violations won't be filed in the fatal shooting of a 25-year-old mid-Missouri man, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Kansas City-based U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson opened a preliminary investigation in October into the May 2013 death of Brandon Coleman, an MU groundskeeper.

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The inquiry was a response to a request by the Columbia chapter of the NAACP as well as members of Coleman's family who thought racial prejudice played a role in his death. Coleman was black and the shooter is white.

The review came after Boone County prosecutor Dan Knight found no evidence that the shooter committed a crime. He said Coleman was shot by the son of a knife-wielding man whom Coleman threatened with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun.

The prosecutor determined the shooter fired at Coleman out of fear that his father would be shot. Coleman died of blood loss after suffering three gunshot wounds.

Knight called Coleman the "initial aggressor in the confrontation" and said comments about race were exchanged prior to the shooting.

The subsequent review included the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Dickson said her office doesn't normally discuss cases where no charges were filed but did so in this case due to significant public interest.

"The preliminary inquiry is now closed and no further federal action is warranted," she said. "No criminal charges have been filed and no federal civil action will be pursued."


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