A small corner of the Justice Department led by a gregarious former police chief has spent months prodding local police in St. Louis and Ferguson, Mo., to change the way they view their citizens and to respond to protests with the intention of upholding people’s First Amendment rights, not shutting them down.
The effort is just one prong of an unusually involved response from the Justice Department to the Aug. 9 police shooting of an unarmed black teen named Michael Brown, which sparked weeks of occasionally violent protests in the area. A county grand jury is expected to decide any day now whether to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in Brown’s death, and initial leaks from the proceedings suggest Wilson may not be charged.
Protesters have vowed to shut down the town of Clayton, where the grand jury meets, when the decision is announced, and local and federal officials are bracing for the possibility of violence.
Ronald Davis, a former Oakland and East PaloRead More »from Justice Department prods Ferguson police to improve