The Department of Justice on Wednesday said evidence could not support bringing federal civil rights charges against Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson in the deadly shooting of Michael Brown – a black man – seven months ago.
A separate DOJ investigation looking into the Ferguson Police Department and the city’s court system found a pattern or practice of racism “borne disproportionately by African Americans and that this disproportionate impact is avoidable,” the agency said in a statement.
According to the DOJ’s investigation, the city often put revenue ahead of public safety. The agency also found that between 2012-2014, African Americans represented two-thirds of Ferguson’s population, but represented about 93 percent of people arrested in the city. African Americans also made up 85 percent of people subject to a vehicle stop, 90 percent of overall citations, 94 percent of “failure to comply” charges and 95 percent of “manner of walking in roadway” charges, according to the DOJ.
“Ferguson’s harmful court and police practices are due, at least in part, to intentional discrimination, as demonstrated by direct evidence of racial bias and stereotyping about African Americans by certain Ferguson police and municipal court officials,” DOJ said.
The federal agency on Wednesday released a 100-page report detailing its findings and offered 26 remedies to end discriminatory practices in Ferguson. Of those include better training and oversight and ending the practice of executing search warrants to collect fines.
Tensions mounted between police and the black community after Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Brown around noon on Aug. 9, 2014, after the officer stopped the man and a friend walking in the middle of the street.
The incident sparked months of protests and prompted a swift response from police, who fired tear gas and arrested dozens of people for rioting and vandalism. The police response was criticized as being too harsh against the city’s African American community and partially blamed for the resulting escalation of unrest.
A grand jury spent three months investigating the killing before acquitting Wilson of any criminal wrongdoing on Nov. 24, 2014.
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