GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Justice Department announced Friday that there is insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against a George County Sheriff's Office deputy regarding the fatal shooting of Billey Joe Johnson, Jr.
Officials from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the FBI met Friday with the Johnson family to inform them of this decision.
On the morning of December 8, 2008, the deputy pulled Johnson over for minor traffic violations. Less than two minutes after he was stopped, a gun was fired. Four eyewitnesses state that the deputy was in his patrol car, with the door shut, when the shot was fired. In addition, both the state coroner and independent federal medical experts have concluded that Johnson shot himself.
The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO) and the FBI reviewed all the of the material and evidence generated by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, including witness statements, crime scene evidence, dispatch recordings and forensic reports.
The department also asked independent medical experts to review the autopsy performed by the state coroner and to conduct an independent analysis of Johnson's death.
"After careful examination of all of the evidence, the Department of Justice, USAO, and FBI determined that the tragic incident did not constitute a prosecutable violation of the federal criminal civil rights statutes," the department said in a news release.
Justice Department officials say the investigation into this incident has been closed without prosecution.