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Ferguson Still Awaiting Word on Federal Investigations


<> on November 24, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.By The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Ferguson leaders said Thursday they haven’t heard from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding two federal investigations, one into the shooting death of Michael Brown in August and the other into the practices of the city’s police department.
Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder said he expects the Justice Department to announce the results of those investigations before he leaves office. His successor will likely be confirmed within weeks.
Ferguson City Attorney Stephanie Karr and Mayor James Knowles III said they have not been contacted by the Department of Justice about any findings, nor given a timeline for completion of the investigations, which began soon after Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson officer, fatally shot the unarmed, Black 18-year-old on Aug. 9.
The shooting raised concerns about the racial makeup of the mostly white police department and its relationship with the suburban St. Louis community, which is about two-thirds Black. A St. Louis County grand jury in November declined to indict Wilson.
“They have not contacted us,” Knowles said. “We haven’t had any recent conversations with the Department of Justice so we don’t know what they’re going to say.”
Knowles said city leaders have cooperated fully, but conversations with justice officials have been few since the early days of the investigation. He said the only recommendations given to Ferguson so far came months ago, when justice officials told officers they must wear their name tags while working, but avoid wearing bracelets in support of Wilson when on duty.
“We’ve heard nothing about any wholesale changes they see as necessary for our police department,” Knowles said.
Justice officials are conducting a “patterns and practices” investigation of the Ferguson Police Department, and a separate investigation to determine if Wilson violated Brown’s civil rights. Wilson resigned from the force in November, days after the grand jury announcement, which set off looting and fires that destroyed several businesses in and around Ferguson.