A long-awaited report on Ferguson found numerous constitutional violations that called for new oversight, retraining of employees and abandoning the current approach to policing.
The New York Times reports that the Justice Department criticized Ferguson police for routinely making unlawful searches, hurling racial insults and treating anyone as a criminal for questioning the tactics.
While a separate report found no civil rights abuses against the white officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, the Justice Department described a discriminatory environment that led to months of protests.
“Seen in this context — amid a highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided practices — it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,” Mr. Holder said.
The report means Ferguson must make changes or face a federal civil rights lawsuit.