The Justice Department will launch a “broad civil rights investigation” into the Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments, the Washington Post reports. The investigation comes after unarmed black teen Michael Brown was gunned down by a white officer, Darren Wilson, as he and a friend walked in the middle of the street in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9.
More from the Washington Post:
Holder’s decision will represent the Obama administration’s most aggressive step to address the Ferguson shooting, which set off days of often-violent clashes between police and demonstrators in the streets of the St. Louis suburb.
The federal officials said the probe will look at not only Ferguson, but other police departments in St. Louis County. Some, like Ferguson, are predominantly white departments serving majority African-American communities and at least one department invited the Justice Department to look at its practices. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a pending investigation.
The new probe will look more broadly at whether the department employed policies and practices that resulted in a pattern of civil rights violations.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that five current and one former member of the police force face pending federal lawsuits claiming they used excessive force. The lawsuits, as well as more than a half-dozen internal investigations, include claims that individual officers separately hog-tied a 12-year-old boy who was checking his family mailbox, pistol-whipped children, and used a Taser on a mentally-ill man who died as a result.