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Following a damning report from the U.S. Justice Department yesterday on misconduct by the Ferguson Police Department, new shoes began dropping in the Saint Louis suburb today on the streets and at the courthouse.
ANTHONY GRAY, Lawyer for Michael Brown's family: Officer Darren Wilson didn't have to shoot and kill Mike Brown Jr. in broad daylight in the manner that he did.
Lawyers for Michael Brown's family said this morning they plan to file a wrongful death suit against the city and former Ferguson policeman Darren Wilson.
He had other options available to him and that he chose deadly force as his option. And we plan to demonstrate in a court of law to reasonable-minded people that the choice to use deadly force was unreasonable and unnecessary.
The Justice Department's decision yesterday not to bring a federal civil rights case against Wilson paved the way for the family's civil suit.
But an extensive federal investigation into Ferguson police practices also uncovered new details about the department's racially biased and profit-driven enforcement and prosecution.
ERIC HOLDER, Attorney General:
As detailed in what I will call our searing report — and it is searing — also released by the Justice Department today, this investigation found a community that was deeply polarized, a community where deep distrust and hostility often characterized interactions between police and area residents, a community where local authorities consistently approached law enforcement not as a means for protecting public safety, but as a way to generate revenue.
Among the incidents detailed in the report: In 2012, an African-American man was cooling off in his car after a basketball game, when police accused him of being a pedophile because there were children in the park; he was arrested at gunpoint and charged with eight crimes which, the man said, led to the loss of his job.
That same year, officers sent a police dog to drag a 16-year-old suspected of stealing a car out of a closet by his legs. In 2007, a black woman received parking tickets totaling $151 for parking illegally. Over time, she was forced to pay $550 in accumulated fines and fees and still owes the city another $541 more.
The department also found racist e-mails, like one that said, President Obama wouldn't be in office long because, "What black man holds a steady job for four years?"
Ferguson's mayor said one of the employees responsible for those e-mails has been fired. Two more have been suspended.
MAYOR JAMES KNOWLES III, Ferguson, Missouri:
Let me be clear. This type of behavior will not be tolerated in the Ferguson Police Department or any department of the city of Ferguson.
The mayor promised to do better as a city. But, last night, protesters returned to Ferguson's streets.
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