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An investigation into the acts of police officers in Ferguson has now released information that the Department of Justice believes the Ferguson Police Department to have racial bias. The investigation came as a result of the Michael Brown shooting, in which the officer responsible for the death of Brown was found not guilty by the courts. After a major protest across the nation, Attorney General Eric Holder announced an investigation into the conduct of the mostly white officers of Ferguson. What the investigation found is, according to sources, not surprising to many.
The events that Michael Brown took the day of his death are all speculation. Witnesses reported seeing two different things, leaving residents confused but outraged. Brown was apparently walking down the street with a friend, in Ferguson, when a police officer, Darren Wilson, pulled over to confront him. An altercation began between the officer and Brown, leading to deadly force. Some witnesses stated that Brown was walking toward Wilson when he was shot, though others state that Brown was standing in the street with his hands up. Regardless of what he was doing at the time that he was killed, it was clear that Brown was unarmed.
On August 10, 2014, one day after Brown was shot, massive protests began. Residents of Ferguson set fire to buildings, looted from stores, and stood in streets holding their hands up with signs displaying the now infamous, “Hands up, don’t shoot” motto. As protesters felt that they were being unheard they began to grow more violent in their protests. However, according to Attorney General Eric Holder, their voices were being heard, as Holder vowed to see an investigation in the Ferguson Police department through, before he ended his tenure.
The investigation into the Ferguson Police Department showed that the officers on the force were believed to have racial bias, as the report found many alarming facts that would point to such a conclusion. Their statistics showed that African-American residents were the subject of much disproportion, as they make up 85 percent of traffic stops, 93 percent of arrests, 90 percent of the residents that receive citations, and 88 percent of the cases where police chose to use force. The report also states that African-Americans had the least amount of cases dismissed by a judge and also spent more than two days in jail on many occasions. Though African-American residents make up about two-thirds of Ferguson, these percentages are still very high.
According to the Department of Justice, the Ferguson Police Department will have a chance to change their ways. Officers can agree to reforms in their behavior, and follow different rules, or the Justice Department will create a lawsuit against them. Officer Darren Wilson is no longer with the Ferguson Police Department, as he resigned following the mass protests, but the other officers on the force will be held responsible for making sure that they tone down the racial bias and adhere to correcting their past actions.
The formal report from the Department of Justice investigation is set to be released on Wednesday. As officers of the Ferguson Police Department have been found to have had racial bias in the past, residents are hoping that the results of the investigation will bring about change from the police officers and fairness for the residents.
By Crystal Boulware