Finally, the Justice Department has announced that there will be an investigation into the conduct of the Ferguson police force. The Washington Post is reporting that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, specifically Attorney General Eric Holder, will conduct the investigation, which will focus on police practices in Ferguson, but could also include other police departments throughout St. Louis County and beyond.
Holder’s presence in this investigation marks the Obama administration’s most aggressive step to address the Michael Brown’s death in the Ferguson shooting, which set off days of violent tension between police and protestors all over Ferguson.
“I am the attorney general of the United States, but I am also a Black man,” Holder said in August, recounting being pulled over and accused of speeding on the New Jersey Turnpike on two occasions, and having his car searched. “I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me,” Holder said.
Here’s hoping that Holder’s life as a Black man helps bring empathy into this investigation. Because as it stands, many media outlets have been criminalizing and demonizing Michael Brown’s angry supporters, labeling them dangerous and threats, therefore justifying the militarized police that have been patrolling the streets of Ferguson since unarmed teen, Michael Brown’s untimely death.
As the Post notes, many of the police departments in the county are primarily made up of White officers serving majority Black communities. And we all know the results of that dynamic. No one knows what the results of this investigation will be, but let’s hope this is the beginning of a much-needed conversation about unwarranted police brutality, especially the ones that result in death.
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