Support Salvation Army California Wildfire Relief

Department of Justice officially opens investigation into Ferguson

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTVI) - Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department will be looking into several issues in the Ferguson Police department.  In a news conference Thursday, Holder said they've gathered enough pieces of evidence to launch an investigation.

The Justice Department will also be looking into the St. Louis County Police Department saying Chief Belmar has voluntarily asked to be included in the review.

Among the things the Justice Department will analyze will be the use of force by officers, stops, searches and arrests, and the manner in which detainees are treated in the Ferguson city jail.   Holder says community leaders and police department officials are in full cooperation with his Department's investigation.

Holder also said if there are concerns about surrounding municipalities, they will also be investigated.

The 18-year-old was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer in August.

Ferguson`s Mayor James Knowles, Police Chief Tom Jackson, the city manager and city attorney all met with two Justice Department officials yesterday at Ferguson City Hall.

Mayor Knowles told Fox 2/News 11 this morning the federal officials indicated to him that any investigation will focus on if there are practices and systemic issues at the police department that could result in civil rights violations.

Sources have told multiple media outlets that investigators will examine previous incidents and complaints involving Ferguson police as well as training in the department.

The civil rights division of the Justice Department will lead the inquiry.

The Justice Department is already investigating whether Michael Brown`s civil rights were violated when the 18 year old was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

This latest inquiry will be separate from that.

Attorney general Eric Holder was in St. Louis back on August 20th.

He met with several groups including Michael Brown`s family.

Both the mayor and police chief say they welcome the latest investigation.

'I`m confident that we`re going to come out ok and I`m not concerned about what it will reveal because although there may be some things that are revealed that we are unaware of that may be embarrassing to us somehow, still if in the end it improves our relationship with the community, our ability to do quality police work then it`s a good thing,' said Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.

Mayor James Knowles added, 'I know we`ve done a lot to improve our department, our policies and procedures. I think that is going to withstand the scrutiny of the department of justice. And so I`m open to having them come in and look through and bring to light anything that may be a problem. But I hope this also reinforces the idea that we`re transparent.'

Sources are saying this new investigation could also look at the practices of other St. Louis county police departments.

Activists who have been protesting the Michael Brown shooting call the latest inquiry a victory in the search for justice for Michael Brown and other victims of police violence.

Neither the mayor nor the police chief knew how long this new probe would last.