Several lawsuits have been filed in recent years against the department claiming excessive force.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that the Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation of the Ferguson, Mo. police department.
The investigation will look for any systemic violations of the Constitution or federal law by Ferguson officers. It will also probe the officer’s "use of force over the years, including deadly force; stops, searches and arrests; discriminatory policing; and treatment of detainees," according to a press release from the administration.
“This is not a stopgap or short-term solution," said Holder during the press conference, adding that the investigation will be fair and thorough. “While there is much work left to do, we feel confident that there are solutions to any issues we find and that community trust in law enforcement can be restored and maintained,” he said.
Holder also noted during his speech that neither of the new initiatives would interfere with the ongoing civil rights investigation the DOJ and FBI are conducting on the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
NBC News reports that the DOJ has launched 20 investigations of police departments in the U.S. over the past five years, adding that more than half as many were opened in the previous five years.
Holder also mentioned that the agency’s similar investigation on the death of Trayvon Martin is still in progress.