Ferguson officials to meet with Justice Department

Written by Muleskinner Staff


(ST. LOUIS, AP) — City leaders in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson will meet Tuesday with U.S. Department of Justice officials to discuss a federal investigation of the Police Department stemming from the August shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer, a city official said.
A person in Ferguson city government with knowledge of the meeting confirmed it was happening but would not say where or when. The person was not authorized to release the information and asked not to be identified.
The Justice Department is expected to criticize the Ferguson Police Department in a long-awaited report about its practices but the officer, Darren Wilson, is not expected to face federal civil rights charges. A St. Louis County grand jury in November declined to indict Wilson on any state charges related to the death of Michael Brown.
In addition to a state probe, the Aug. 9 shooting led to two separate federal investigations: one to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against Wilson and one to more broadly examine the city’s Police Department.
The results are expected to be made public in the coming days as Attorney General Eric Holder prepares to leave the Justice Department. It wasn’t clear if Brown’s family has met with investigators. Ben Crump, the attorney for Brown’s family, declined comment, but Charles Ewing, an uncle of Brown, said the family had not heard anything about timing of an announcement.
“We’re hoping they’re fair with it, because this is an ongoing problem for years,” said Ewing, a pastor who gave the eulogy at Brown’s funeral. “Something has to be done.”
The shooting, and the grand jury decision in November, spurred massive protests, rioting and looting. Sporadic protests have continued, though they were quieted during the winter months.
State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, a Democrat from nearby University City, said the Justice Department is wrong if it believes criticism of things like bias in police hiring practices and overly aggressive ticketing of black drivers will appease protesters.
“Ticketing was not the reason why Michael Brown was killed,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “I hope it’s not an easy out. That easy out is very transparent when it comes to protesters or others who felt they’ve been injured.”
Jim Suhr in St. Louis and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.