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DOJ Launches Civil Rights Investigation Into Ferguson Police Dept

"This Ferguson investigation is a step, but we've got a national police brutality problem going on."

Sarah Lazare

The U.S. Department of Justice is launching a broad civil rights investigation into the Ferguson Missouri police department after officer Darren Wilson shot to death unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown last month.

The investigation was first reported by the Washington Post — which cited anonymous federal law enforcement officials — and could be announced as soon as Thursday afternoon. It will examine the Ferguson and other St. Louis County law enforcement departments — many of which, like in Ferguson, are majority white and police majority black populations — focusing on numerous practices, including police stops, arrests, use of force, and training, according to an unnamed source cited by the Guardian.

This broad inquiry is separate from a Justice Department specific investigation of Officer Wilson's killing of Michael Brown.

At least six current or former Ferguson police officers currently face lawsuits on charges of civil rights violations, which include: pistol whipping a child, hog tying a child, killing a mentally ill man, and beating a man then filing charges against him for bleeding on officers' clothes.

The murder of Michael Brown touched off protests in Ferguson and across the country against police racism, violence, and militarization. While the investigation was welcomed by some, organizers urge that the problem of police brutality extends far beyond St. Louis County.

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