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DOJ Officials to Meet with Ferguson Leaders to Discuss Police Reform

Ferguson mayor James Knowles hopes to do more than just eliminating offending officers
DOJ Officials to Meet with Ferguson Leaders to Discuss Police Reform
Michael Thomas/Getty Images

Ferguson city officials are preparing to sit down with Department of Justice employees sometime in the next two weeks to discuss how they can reform the community’s corrupt police department.

Two days after the DOJ released a report concluding that Ferguson police officers regularly exercised racial biases, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles says that the city is working on brainstorming solutions to solve its discriminatory practices.

“They want to hear what we will do,” Knowles said in an interview with the Associated Press. “We’re going to hopefully work out some sort of agreement, and we’ll move forward.”

DOJ: Ferguson Police Officers Regularly Violate Black Residents’ Rights

The report, which came after a six-month investigation following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, found that police officers routinely targeted Black residents, who make up 67 percent of the population, but account for 93 percent of all arrests. DOJ investigators also found that police officers circulated racist jokes via their government-issue e-mail addresses.

Knowles said that three of the officers who shared racist e-mails have been let go, but he hopes to do more than just eliminate the offending policemen.

“I’m not here to just chop heads,” he said. “We have to evaluate everything in the report, pick out what are the systemic issues and what are the things we can fix.”

In the report, investigators outlined possible steps that the city could take, including implementing a more comprehensive policy review, punishing officers more severely and having an increased community voice in decision making.

“Ferguson is going to end up being reformed,” Knowles said. “You can’t draw any conclusion other than Ferguson will be better after this.”