FERGUSON, Mo. – U.S. Department of Justice officials promised a frustrated group of Ferguson residents Wednesday night that the federal government will take seriously their allegations of racial profiling and brutality at the hands of north St. Louis County law enforcement.
More than 300 people packed into a meeting room at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley for an update on the federal civil rights investigation Attorney General Eric Holder announced earlier this month in the wake of the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.
Holder said the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will investigate whether Ferguson police have engaged in a pattern of civil rights violations.
Christy Lopez, a Justice Department deputy counsel, reiterated that point Wednesday in front of a mostly calm crowd.
The point of the meeting was to give an update on the Justice Department’s investigation and give residents a chance to share their stories with federal investigators.
“We are here to address patterns or practices of police misconduct,” Lopez said. The department is looking at “whether people’s constitutional rights are being violated on a regular basis,” she said.
The federal investigation, she said, will look at arrest reports, use-of-force reports and interviews with the public to determine whether Ferguson and other area police departments have a history of violating civil rights.
If a problem is found, Lopez said, the investigation will culminate in a public report that will spell out remedies.
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