The Justice Department is preparing to sue the Ferguson Police Department for racial discrimination in its policing if it does not make changes to correct the problem voluntarily, CNN reports. The warning from the DOJ comes as it prepares to release the findings of its investigation into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and the alleged use of discriminatory tactics by the force as a whole.
“In weighing whether to bring discrimination charges against the Ferguson Police Department, the Justice Department has been ‘seriously examining’ allegations that the city’s enforcement of minor offenses discriminated against minorities and often led to jail time and to fines that lined the city’s coffers,” a law enforcement official confirmed to POLITICO on Tuesday. “Justice Department lawyers handling the investigation have repeatedly met with lawyers for a St. Louis nonprofit that filed a federal lawsuit last week alleging that the city of Ferguson and its neighbor, Jennings, were running what amounted to modern-day debtors’ prisons, people familiar with the meetings said.”
CNN reported on Wednesday the Justice Department is not expected to charge Wilson for the shooting, but will likely outline the instances of racial discrimination it uncovered during its probe of Ferguson police tactics. “If they don’t agree to review and revise those tactics, sources say, the Justice Department would sue to force changes in the department,” according to CNN. “The Justice Department action would ask for court supervision of changes at the Ferguson Police Department to improve how police deal with the minority communities they are supposed to protect.”