The parents of Michael Brown are preparing to meet with Department of Justice officials on Wednesday morning to be debriefed on the findings of the department’s investigation into the Ferguson Police Department and their son’s killing by a former police officer, according to a source close to the family.
The meeting comes a day after the DOJ released a scathing summary report following a months-long investigation into the police force which found the Ferguson, Missouri police department engaged in a broad pattern of conduct that routinely violated federal law and the constitutional rights of African-Americans.
The bombshell summary addressed concerns brought to light following Brown’s killing in August by former officer Darren Wilson. While the DOJ is prepared to announce its findings from the police department investigation, it has yet to signal the results of the investigation into Wilson or indicate if it will indict him on federal civil rights charges.
The DOJ is expected to release the full report on its investigations in Ferguson on Wednesday, and later, Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to hold a press conference addressing his department’s findings.
The DOJ findings include the following: (1) a pattern and practice of disproportionate stops and arrests of blacks without probable cause, (2) unreasonable force, (3) racially biased handling of warrants by municipal courts, and (4) a pattern of focusing on revenue over public safety that violated the rights of poor, black residents.
Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP, told MSNBC that while news of the DOJ’s findings are a step in the right direction, people are anxiously waiting to hear what if any action the federal government plans on taking in response to its own report.
“People are wondering, where is the hammer? Where is the hammer dropping down on Ferguson in response to the report?” Pruitt said. “When the report comes out and if there’s no hammer, then a lot of folks are going to be saying, yeah, yeah, yeah… and I think the rhetoric is going to heat up and people are going to say see, they let them off the hook and we didn’t get justice.”
As part of the investigation, federal investigators also uncovered email evidence of further racial bias and stereotyping by both members of the Ferguson police department and municipal court officials. The email evidence includes racist jokes, one that referenced President Barack Obama and another that referred to a refund a black woman received for an abortion as a credit from “Crimestoppers.”
The report comes six months after a white Ferguson police officer shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown Jr., an incident that drew widespread scrutiny and brought national attention to the long history of abuses allegedly committed by the city’s overwhelmingly white police force against its majority black population.
Shortly after Brown’s killing by Wilson, the Justice Department announced parallel investigations into both the incident itself and the entire Ferguson police department.
A grand jury in November declined to indict Wilson. He resigned from the police department shortly thereafter.
While there has been little expectation that the Justice Department would file federal civil rights charges against Wilson – the bar for such charges is set extremely high – a finding that the police department engaged in some form of racially biased policing seemed more likely.