U.S. Justice Department to Investigate Police in Ferguson

U.S. Justice Department to Investigate Police in Ferguson

Rabin Nabizadeh
August 21, 2014

The world’s attention has been set on the small unincorporated area of Ferguson, Missouri since the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson law enforcement official (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) on August 9th of this year.  Most recently, Attorney General Eric Holder was sent to investigate Brown’s death, determine what he could from the public, and to make an attempt to smooth out tensions that have been bubbling to the surface amongst the citizenry, mainly mass arrests and violent protests.  Recall that Brown was an unarmed 18-year-old when he was shot at least 6 times by the officer.  Though the officer believed Brown to be a suspect in a robbery (CA Penal Code 211) that was committed just before the shooting occurred, many Ferguson residents believe his actions to have been racially charged.  In this atmosphere of racial tension that seems to have existed for quite some time in the area, people are wondering whether the officer will be treated as a police officer who made a grave mistake in the course of his regular duties or whether he executed Brown without cause.

According to an article posted on SFGate, the current presidential administration has a far better track record of holding police accountable when they have acted as if they are above the law when it comes to civil rights.  During the Bush administration, law enforcement officials were prosecuted, on average, about  4.86 time per month in federal courts, whereas during the Obama administration, that number has jumped to a significant 5.5 cases per month (a 13% increase).  As Bob Egelko with SF Gate has it, there is a long history of the federal government stepping in and claiming civil rights violations when it comes to police officers.  He asks us to recall the actions of several New Orleans police officials immediately after Katrina, 1 unarmed man shot in the back and 6 other unarmed citizens killed on the Danzinger Bridge by 5 different officers, some of whom were eventually cleared of all charges.

Thus far, and in Ferguson, Holder has ordered a federal autopsy, visited with witnesses, and tried to determine the best course of action for the federal government in this case.  Preliminary accounts show, however, that a federal claim against the officer is likely to result.  While some see the increase in attention to violations by police as an unnecessary intervention by an over-powerful federal government, others see this as progress.

 

latest news

April 7, 2022
What Can I Expect After Being Arrested for a DUI in California?
A DUI charge is a severe criminal offense in California. DUI arrests take away a massive part of your driving privilege and could tarnish your reputation. Prior DUI convictions can inflict further damage to your career opportunities, driving rights, and immigration status. This blog will go over what you must expect when facing DUI charges. [...]
April 7, 2022
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in California?
DUI cases may stay on your criminal record forever. The United States sees DUI as a serious traffic crime punishable with grave penalties. Fighting your way through a DUI case is a challenging task. But, it doesn't mean you can't do anything about it. There are legal options available for you, depending on the nature [...]
April 6, 2022
Arrested for DUI in California: Am I Going to Lose My Job?
You've been charged with a DUI and have no idea what to do next. A lot of worries may run through your mind, including the fear of losing your job. Many aspects of a DUI charge can be overwhelming to a person, even to those familiar with California Law. In this blog, we will discuss [...]