Attorney General

Justice Department to launch broad civil rights probe of Ferguson police

The U.S. Justice Department is set to announce a broad civil rights probe of the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, that is in addition to its investigation of the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson officer.

According to anonymous sources who spoke with the Washington Post, the probe could be announced as soon as Thursday afternoon. The New York Times spoke with Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who said he discussed the broader investigation with Justice Department officials on Wednesday.

Jackson told the Times there was no intentional policy of discrimination in his department, but “obviously we have gaps. And any help we can get to help fill those gaps and to make ourselves stronger, we welcome.”

The Post reports that the probe by the Justice Department’s civil rights division will include not only the Ferguson police department, but also other police departments in St. Louis County.

Five members of the Ferguson police department, as well as a former officer, are facing pending suits claiming excessive use of force, according to a Washington Post story published on Saturday. One suit claims officers hog-tied a 12-year-old boy who was checking his family mailbox, while another claims police beat a man later charged with damaging city property because he bled on officers’ uniforms.

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