The U.S. Justice Department is threatening to sue the Ferguson Police Department over claims of racial bias. The Missouri law enforcement agency has a long history of controversy. However, the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown brought national attention to the ongoing issues.
On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. As the circumstances surround the shooting were hotly disputed, the incident sparked civil unrest throughout the community.
Amid the controversy, the Ferguson Police Department came under intense scrutiny for unfairly targeting minorities. As reported by CNN, Michael Brown’s shooting prompted numerous residents to come forward with claims of racial profiling and discrimination.
The U.S. Justice Department is currently conducting an extensive investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown. As a result, the agency is also exploring the claims of racial profiling and bias.
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) February 18, 2015
At the onset of the investigation, officials with the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services bureau provided sensitivity training to officers in Ferguson and St. Louis County. As reported by MSNBC, the two-day training session “included lessons on how police can acknowledge, identify and filter implicit racial bias.”
Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department’s investigation into Michael Brown’s death will likely conclude before the end of the month. Although former Officer Darren Wilson is not expected to be charged, the Attorney General’s office identified a disturbing pattern of racial discrimination. As a result, the U.S. Justice Department has threatened to sue the Ferguson Police Department — if they do not take further measures to eliminate racial bias.
US Attorney General Eric Holder pushing for all police departments to issue body cams in wake of Ferguson shooting. pic.twitter.com/Ab1lEFbvaP
— Vic Lee (@vicleeabc7) February 5, 2015
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said he has no knowledge of the threatened lawsuit. However, he said “everything they suggested in the past has been reasonable and [the department has] tried to comply.”
While addressing the National Press Club, Holder said he is “confident that people will be satisfied with the results” of the Justice Department’s investigation.
“I think everybody will see when we announce our results that the process that we have engaged in is… independent, thorough and based on all the facts.”
Following the shooting death of Michael Brown, Chief Jackson had ample opportunity to address claims of impropriety within his department. Although he has made some positive changes, the U.S. Justice Department is willing to sue the Ferguson Police Department if they do not continue to improve.
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