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Justice Department Officials Visit Ferguson

A protester leads marchers as they confront a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper in front of the Ferguson police station in August. (Courtesy photo)
A protester leads marchers as they confront a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper in front of the Ferguson police station in August. (Courtesy photo)

 

by Dorothy Rowley
Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer

Justice Department officials wrapped a two-day visit Friday to Ferguson, Missouri, after meeting with city and community leaders, part of a federal probe of the fatal police shooting of a black teen that sparked weeks of civil unrest.

Molly Moran, acting assistant attorney general for the department’s civil rights division, and Mark Kappelhoff, deputy assistant attorney general, also met with the Ferguson Police Department regarding an ongoing investigation of the department, which is 94 percent white. According to an August report, just three of the department’s 53 officers are African-American in a community that is 67 percent black.

Moran, Kappelhoff and Ronald Davis, director of the Office Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) were joined by the Community Relations Service during a meeting with community leaders regarding the pattern and practice investigation on Thursday, said Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson.

“There will be additional opportunities for community members to meet with Civil Rights Division staff as part of the pattern and practice investigation in the near future,” Iverson said.

Discussions included a follow-up on letters sent to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson regarding identification of officers and uniform requirements.

Davis and Rob Chapman, COPS deputy director, also attended law enforcement leadership meetings in both Ferguson and St. Louis County, as part of the organization’s efforts to provide ongoing technical assistance to the police department.

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