Justice Department to Open Broad Inquiry into Ferguson Police

Devlin Barrett, Wall Street Journal, September 4, 2014

The Justice Department plans to open a broad inquiry into possible misconduct within the Ferguson, Mo., police department, which has been harshly criticized since one of its officers shot and killed an unarmed black 18-year-old last month, according to people familiar with the decision.

{snip} In the wake of the shooting, Ferguson officials ordered body cameras for its police officers, saying they hoped the cameras would create a clear record of the conduct of both suspects and officers, and reveal any possible problems with police training.


Now, the department’s Civil Rights Division will begin a pattern-and-practice probe, meaning that instead of a single officer in Ferguson, the investigation will cover the entire 53-member police force, these people said. A pattern-and-practice probe is a civil, not criminal, inquiry and seeks to determine if there are systemic problems in the work culture of specific police departments.

The new probe into the Ferguson police department will look back several years and examine past allegations of misconduct, including lawsuits against Ferguson officers alleging excessive force, according to people familiar with the planned probe. {snip}


Besides the federal probe of the shooting, the county district attorney has empaneled a grand jury to decide whether to bring charges against Mr. Wilson.

The goal of pattern-and-practice investigations is to determine whether a department’s officers are properly trained and supervised on the fair treatment of people, including suspects. Even when they find evidence of generalized misconduct, such investigations are typically resolved through court-approved consent decrees, meaning the department agrees to additional oversight as it makes changes to procedures.

If the two sides cannot agree on terms of a settlement, the Justice Department may file a lawsuit. In some cases, a pattern-and-practice inquiry ends with no action taken by federal authorities.

Such probes were made possible by a 1994 federal law spurred by the police beating of motorist Rodney King in Los Angeles and the subsequent rioting when the officers charged in that case were acquitted.

The Obama administration has ramped up pattern-and-practice investigations, probing police departments at a faster pace than its predecessors. In recent months, officials have advanced these probes against a large New York City jail, the Newark, N.J., police department, and the Albuquerque, N.M., police department.



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  • I don’t know what they think they’re going to find, but I do think I know where this is headed:

    Using the Federal courts to do to local police departments what they did to school districts a long time ago.

    Most of us think that all they did, the Federal judiciary, was order forced busing and deseg within a school district.

    Actually in some cases it went a lot further: In St. Louis, there was an order of a voluntary deseg program between districts, and in Kansas City, they ordered a massive spending program for the KCPS and ordered that the KCPS allow white suburban students to enroll (but thankfully, not the other way around), the genesis of the olympic swimming pools and the model UN discussion halls.

    “But QD, we know that, too.”

    Okay, but I bet you don’t know this, which turns out to be relevant to the whole Ferguson hullabaloo:

    At one point in the 1970s, the Federal courts in St. Louis ordered the subsumation of the then all black Kinloch school district into what was then a mostly white Ferguson-Florissant school district, and then an “internal” deseg program within the new larger district.

    So add this all together, and what do I predict?

    If, for example, the Ferguson P.D. only has three blacks and one patrol-level black in a department of 53, and that won’t change because blacks won’t apply, then the Federal courts will either start merging municipal police departments or perhaps ordering all municipal P.D.s in St. Louis County eliminated and all law enforcement duties in the county will come out of the St. Louis County P.D., which at this time only has primary jurisdiction over unincorporated areas and municipalities without a P.D. for whatever reason (too small, can’t afford, corruption investigation, etc.). And the St. Louis County P.D. (“County Browns,” for their brown uniforms) are affirmative action happy, thank you Charlie Dooley.

    Because, that damned 14th Amendment of that damned Constitution that all these damned Constitutionalists love so much.

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      Constitutional scholar Lino Graglia said in one of the Q&A sessions of the 2009 Preserving Western Civilization conference in Baltimore that the 14th Amendment has, in effect, become the Constitution.

      • I would add the interstate commerce clause to that. 14th + ICC means that the Federal government is pretty much unrestrained in what it can do as long as some sort of egalitarian nonsense is involved.

        • Oil Can Harry

          Of course the main problem is not the way the Commerce Clause and 14th Amendment were written or intended but how they’ve been misinterpreted by the left-wing “black-robed tyrants” in our courts.

        • The feds actually once lost a case on ICC grounds. They tried claiming that the Interstate Commerce Clause justified the “Gun-Free School Zone Act” because persons shot dead in school zones would be unable to participate in interstate commerce.

          The judge laughed the feds right out of court on that one, and struck down the law.

          • OTOH, there was a case from the 1930s involving Ohio (?) farmers who planted some crops for personal use on their own land, and the Feds took them to court for some FDR/New Deal era agricultural legislation. The courts found that the farmers were engaging in interstate commerce by not engaging in interstate commerce, because if they didn’t plant those crops, they would have to buy the food from someone else, presumably in a cross-state transaction.

          • I distantly remember they were growing wheat, grinding it to flour and then baking their own bread in a vertically-integrated, entirely in-house operation.

    • C17H19NO3

      A rather ironic effect would be that people would get hassled less if they were patrolled by St. Louis County than all of those ticket happy revenue collecting police each little municipal fiefdom has now.

      I fear you are right though, that either some type of forced hiring or eventual merger would be ordered. Some of those little bergs could do a lot better without their local governments. I say this as a resident of North County. Too many cops, too many jurisdictions, far too likely to get hassled.

      • I’ve thought that for a long time. Too many dime a dozen municipalities, especially in North County, most of them have their own revenue collection service speeding and parking ticket writers called a P.D. But Ferguson isn’t a postage stamp municipality. And I’m noticing this meme getting more and more traction in the local media, so I think it’s yet another look at the squirrel and not at the black undertow diversion.

        I will say that one of the happiest days of my life was when St. George in South County disincorporated. Now you can drive like a normal person and not a paranoid dingbat along Reavis.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    I suggest a “pattern and practice” investigation of the people of Ferguson — to see if they have been properly trained on dealing with the police.
    Obvious choice for lead investigator? Mr. Chris Rock. Mr. Rock has created the most widely viewed training video on the subject of proper people-police interactions:
    Chris Rock: How to not get your ass kicked by the police [3m30s]

  • Let’s say I’m a Ferguson cop. The feds jumping in implies I’m guilty of something, but nothing specific. It’s like Kafka–“What did I do, Mr. Holder? What was my crime?”

    Then huge amounts of my time will be wasted in meetings with Holder’s anti-white libtards who breeze into town like know it alls. My policing skills deteriorate due to too much time in the office and not enough on the street.

    Next, I’m told I’ve been doing everything wrong. I have to do it the new way or I’m disciplined. I also have to do it with a smile.

    I’m not mentally castrated. My new job title should be social worker. I must “understand” my black brothers.

    Next thing you know I’m dead. My response time was slowed down by a fraction of a second because of my fears of being destroyed by Leviathan.

    My funeral is next week, but Eric Holder is too busy to attend. There’s going to be nice flowers and a parade though.

    • phorning

      If they think it is difficult to staff the police department now, why would anyone who could get a job somewhere else in the St. Louis metro area now, even consider working for the Ferguson PD? Your every move will be second guessed by a federal bureaucrat who knows nothing about your job. If the DOJ decides you acted improperly, your life is ruined.

      • me

        No sane White man should EVER become a policeman in a majority ‘diverse’ community. You’d be better off digging ditches for a living.

        • The Worlds Scapegoat

          I know a guy who makes $35 an hour holding a stop-sign for the ditch diggers. He works 4 weeks @ $35/hour, then goes to his crooked doctor who puts him on disability for 9 months. He then goes motorcycle riding, jet skiing, and snow boarding for 9 months.

          He is white in case you were wondering, and dumber than a box of rocks. He also loves black people and hates “raciss” whites.


        • That’s one aspect to this situation that the DoJ and media are pretending to ignore: what happens when this sort of witch-hunt-cum-circus drives conscientious police officers out of “vibrant”, “diverse” municipalities?

          • Usually Much Calmer

            Oh come on now. Even post hoc, they will deny any connection.

        • lionel1130

          Good point.

        • Gus Baker


    • In this case “broad inquiry” is semantically equal to “witch hunt”.

      • Kit Ingoldby

        Ending in a lynching.

  • MoMo

    Either intentionally or not, what the federal government is doing is providing the basis for a “wrongful death” civil action to be filed by the mother of the late teen wrongfully murdered after the criminal trial has been completed. Our government will literally spend millions not only prosecuting the police officer but also bankrupting the city as a learning tool for other similar cities. It’s going to get ugly!


  • JohnEngelman

    This means they will be a lot more reluctant to do what they need to do to keep those people under control.

    • Correct: this is called “de-policing” by the Cultural Marxists once black street thugs make life in entire suburbs unendurable for the other blacks who live there. Eventually there is always a call for increased law-enforcement by single mothers who then whine about “profiling” when it is their “gentle giant” who gets shot by cops, and then they cycle repeats.

      • Laura Dilworth

        i don’t think the grand jury will indite officer d wilson, and holder is appeasing the folks, preparing them

        • MoMo

          No Ms. Laura he will not only be indicted in about thirty days or less, but he will also be convicted of murder in about a year. Then the real question will become the appeal. Justice is never totally blind.

          • Laura Dilworth

            appeals usually lose

  • TruthBeTold

    The conclusion has already been written. The DoJ is just collecting anecdotal stories that fit their conclusion.

    Really, does anyone believe they won’t discover ‘racism’ at the heart of the Ferguson police department?

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Looks like the Grand Jury can’t find grounds to indict Officer Wilson.

    Holder still hasn’t indicted Zimmerman even though he said he would seek federal Civil Rights Charges, the case is apparently “still under investigation”

    Holder is a racist who uses the power and force of the federal government to intimidate and attack any White who defends himself against a black.

    But, blame must be somehow put on Whites, not on where it belongs. The likely outcome is a Consent Degree and Federal Oversight with demands for racial quotas for the Ferguson police dept. dictated by Holder himself.

    The Ferguson police dept. should investigate Holder and the DOJ.

    Alleged Photo Being Released of Officer Darren Wilson:

    http //earhustle411 com/alleged-photo-released-officer-darren-wilson-officer-shot-michael-brown-ferguson/

    • me

      Oh, but ‘innocent lil’ youth’ Michael Brown ‘din do nuffins’. Eric “I’m a Black man, too”, race baiting, anti-White racist Holder will try to crucify Darren Wilson for not getting murdered by one of his punk-azz, lawless, criminal, hoodlum, youf, monkey ‘people’. Demonic….

  • Same old frigging story how the chocolate people destroy societies . . .it NEVER changes . .
    .apparently they would do better in the natural design common to Africa , where if you start a fire it will
    burn down the entire village, and close quarter combat is the prefered form of aggression..

  • robinbishop34

    As a St. Louisan I can’t tell you how revealing this event has become. Even as a seasoned Amrenner I am startled.

  • lionel1130

    In the wake of the shooting, Ferguson officials ordered body cameras for its police officers,
    saying they hoped the cameras would create a clear record of the conduct of both suspects
    and officers, and reveal any possible problems with police training.

  • Gus Baker

    If you’re a white cop and you stay in Ferguson, you need your head examined, there has to be a better place to be a cop, and if you can’t find one, change professions, I’ve done it twice now.

  • Dale McNamee

    Re-assign the white officers from Ferguson to other towns and make the local police force all black…

    Let’s see what happens if a black cop in the same situation as Officer Wilson, shoots another “gentle giant”, ( “Mah Baby, Mah baby ! “, etc. )…

    Will Al & Je$$e show up ? Will it be “OK” since both are black ? Rhetorical questions to be sure…

    I know the answer, as many of my fellow Amren posters do…

  • Augustus3709

    No need to look to old Salem for witch trials.

    All you need is the mulatto supremacist commie Department of Injustice, circa 2014.