AP source: US to investigate Ferguson police
By ERIC TUCKER
40 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department plans to open a
wide-ranging investigation into the practices of the Ferguson Police
Department following the shooting last month of an unarmed black
18-year-old by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb, a person
briefed on the matter said Wednesday night.
The person said the investigation could be
announced as early as Thursday afternoon. Missouri officials were
notified Wednesday of the investigation.
The investigation will
look at the overall practices of the police department, including
patterns of stops, arrests and use-of-force, as well as the training the
officers receive, the person said.
The inquiry is separate from
an ongoing civil rights investigation the Justice Department is
conducting into the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer
Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. A local grand jury is also investigating the
shooting, which set off nearly two weeks of unrest in Ferguson and
became a flashpoint in the national discussion of police treatment of
minorities across the country. Attorney General Eric Holder two weeks
ago visited the St. Louis suburb, where he sought to reassure residents
about the Justice Department investigation and shared personal
experiences of having himself been mistreated by the police.
person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation, first
reported by The Washington Post, had not yet been announced.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson did not immediately return a call seeking comment about the Justice Department investigation.
Police is riot gear work to disperse a crowd of protesters Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. T …
Police have said the shooting followed a scuffle that broke out
after Wilson told Brown and a friend to move out of the street and onto
a sidewalk. Police say Wilson was pushed into his squad car and
physically assaulted. Some witnesses have reported seeing Brown's arms
up in the air before the shooting in an act of surrender. An autopsy
paid for by Brown's family concluded that he was shot six times, twice
in the head.
The Justice Department's civil rights division
routinely investigates individual police departments when there are
allegations of systemic abuse or other problems. The department says
it's opened more than twice as many investigations into police
department in the past five years as were opened in the previous five
years. Among those that have recently come under investigation are the
Albuquerque, New Mexico, department, which was the subject of a harshly
critical report in April that faulted the police for a pattern of
excessive force and called an overhaul of its internal affairs unit.
the federal investigation seeks to encourage significant changes to
policies and practices. The investigations sometimes end in an agreement
known as a consent decree, in which the police department agrees to