(WASHINGTON) — The police department of Ferguson, Missouri, the town where an unarmed black teenager was killed by a police officer last month, is now the subject of a federal investigation into its use of force, how officers stop and search and how its officers are trained.
The investigation was announced Thursday by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who went to Ferguson after the town erupted in violent protests following the death of Michael Brown.
“We have a determination there is cause for the Justice Department to open an investigation,” Holder said.
He said it was prompted by complaints and a “variety of documents” that had information like “the percentage of stops for certain ethnic groups.”
Holder said the probe will look into the Ferguson PD’s use of deadly force, analyze who its officers stop and search, the make-up of the department’s arrests, treatment of suspects in jail, and the training of its officers.
The AG said that if the probe determined that any adjacent departments should also be investigated, “we will not hesitate.”
The shooting of Brown, 18, is already under review by the Department of Justice as well as by a St. Louis County grand jury.
Protesters in Ferguson had complained that the town’s police department was overwhelmingly white while the town’s population had a majority of black residents.
The city issued a two-paragraph statement vowing “our willingness to be transparent and forthright as we continue the process of earning back the trust of our residents and our neighbors in the St. Louis region.”
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