In Ferguson, scathing DOJ report brings pressure for change

World Today

Protesters stand in front of the Gateway Arch as they demonstrate in downtown St. Louis on Nov. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Blacks in the Missouri city where a white officer killed an unarmed black 18-year-old are disproportionately subject to excessive police force, baseless traffic stops, and citations for infractions as petty as walking down the middle of street, a U.S. Justice Department report says.

The full report, expected to be released later Wednesday, could serve as a roadmap for significant changes by Ferguson’s police department, which commanded international attention after one of its officers shot and killed Michael Brown in August. The officer was not indicted by a state grand jury, a decision that prompted violent street protests.

With scathing findings of a months-long investigation being released, attention now turns to Ferguson as the city confronts how to fix racial biases that the federal government says are rooted in the police department, court system and jail.

City officials said they were reviewing the report.

Similar federal investigations of troubled police departments have led to the appointment of independent monitors and mandated overhauls in the most fundamental of police practices. The Justice Department maintains the right to sue a police department if officials balk at making changes, though many investigations resolve the issue with both sides negotiating a blueprint for change.

Brown’s killing set off weeks of protests and initiated a national dialogue about police use of force and their relations with minority communities. A separate report being issued soon is expected to clear the officer who shot Brown from facing federal civil rights charges. The officer, Darren Wilson, resigned.

Report from The Associated Press

Read the full Department of Justice report: