The Ferguson Police Department has just fired three city employees in its attempt to reform city departments during a negotiation for a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, following a federal investigation which accused the city of engaging in the targeting of African-Americans. Mayor James Knowles stated the three aforementioned city employees, who worked for the municipal court system and the police department, were terminated over evidence of “egregious racial bias.” Emails and other evidence was released by the Justice Department on Wednesday.
The terminations come after Ferguson, the medium-sized suburb of St. Louis, which has a large African-American population, but mainly white police force, is recovering from charges handed down by the Justice Department. The initial investigation into the city leadership and police force of Ferguson began after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed African-American teenager in August. This triggered protests throughout the country, sparking debates in Ferguson and all over the nation about the treatment of minority groups by law enforcement officers.
Knowles stated city leaders will converge with the Justice Department later this month to review reform strategies. He stated he hopes both sides of the table can reach an agreement without letting it go to litigation.
Knowles did not name the city employees that were terminated, and would not release the information on whether Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson was fired or asked to step down from his position. This comes after many community and civil rights leaders, including a few state and federal officials, have called for his firing for months since the incident.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by Light Brigading – Flickr License