John Shaw

Ferguson City Manager Resigns Amid Ongoing Controversy

Ferguson City Manager John Shaw has resigned amid an ongoing controversy surrounding the August, 2014, shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Shaw is one of several government officials accused of overlooking, and encouraging, racial profiling by the Ferguson Police Department.

The incident gained international attention, as Brown was unarmed when he was shot and killed. However, the circumstances surrounding the shooting remain a point of heated controversy.

Officer Darren Wilson said he stopped Brown for questioning, as he fit the description of a robbery suspect. According to Wilson, the teen attempted to grab his service revolver. Wilson said Brown eventually tried to flee the scene. However, the he reportedly turned around and charged toward the officer when he ordered him to stop.

Wilson said he was forced to shoot the teen in self-defense. However, several witnesses dispute the officer’s version of events. According to some witness reports, Brown had his hands in the air when he was shot and killed.

The specific circumstances surrounding Brown’s death may never be known. However, the incident underscored claims that the Ferguson Police Department regularly targeted minorities.

Although Darren Wilson was not held legally responsible for Michael Brown’s death, the incident prompted intense scrutiny of the local government and police department.

As he served as Ferguson’s City Manager, John Shaw was accused of overlooking complaints of racial bias against the Ferguson Police Department. He is further accused of encouraging officers to make more arrests to generate revenue.

In the course of investigation into the shooting, and accusations of racial profiling, the United States Department of Justice determined the Ferguson Police Department and municipal court regularly practiced racial bias.

As reported by CBS News, the DOJ’s report prompted the Ferguson City Council to review Shaw’s position as City Manager. In a unanimous vote, the city council voted to approve a “mutual separation agreement.” Although the council thanked John Shaw for eight years of service, was relieved of his position, effective immediately.

Shaw said he “… respect[s] the work that the DOJ recently performed in their investigation and report on the City of Ferguson…” However, he denies accusations that his office overlooked reports of racial bias. He further denies accusations that he encouraged targeting minorities as a source of increased revenue.

” ‘I must state clearly that my office has never instructed the police department to target African Americans, nor falsify charges to administer fines, nor heap abuses on the backs of the poor. Any inferences of that kind from the report are simply false,’ Shaw said in a statement.”

The Ferguson City Manager is one of several officials who have resigned or been fired amid the controversy. In the last week alone, Municipal Court Clerk Mary Ann Twitty was fired and Municipal Court Judge Ronald Brockmeyer resigned.

[Image via Scott Olson/Getty Images]

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