The U.S. Department of Justice is preparing to file suit against the Ferguson Police Department for allegedly using discriminatory practices if the Missouri law enforcement unit does not agree to review and revise those tactics, CNN reported Wednesday night, citing an anonymous source. After the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, Justice Department officials have been “seriously examining” allegations that Ferguson police officers engaged in a pattern of racial discrimination, a law enforcement official told Politico Tuesday.
Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce this week the findings of the Justice Department’s investigation of Brown’s death and a broader review of the Ferguson Police Department. Brown, a black teenager, was unarmed when he was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on the street in August. Minutes before his death, the 18-year-old had allegedly stolen two handfuls of cigarillos at the Ferguson Market. A grand jury’s decision in November not to indict Wilson for the shooting has incited national outrage over police tactics.
The Justice Department is reportedly unlikely to pursue charges against Wilson, but it’s expected to outline evidence of misconduct and racial discrimination by Ferguson police officers, according to CNN. Justice Department officials previously authorized a second autopsy of Brown, and Holder met with Brown’s family and local officials in the St. Louis County suburb last year, Politico reported.
The lawsuit will reportedly include allegations made in a lawsuit filed last week by a group of 15 low-income residents in and around the St. Louis area. Lawyers handling the Justice Department’s investigation have repeatedly met with lawyers for the group, a nonprofit organization called Arch City Defenders, according to Politico. The organization filed a federal lawsuit Feb. 8 against the city of Ferguson and another nearby suburb, alleging that the cities were running modern-day debtors’ prisons that punish the impoverished when they cannot pay traffic tickets and other municipal violations, the New York Times reported.