Race and Policing
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As the nation marks five years since the police killing of teenager Mike Brown and the series of protests known as the Ferguson Uprisings, a group of residents in Ferguson, MO, have been working locally since 2014 to take back their power. They refer to themselves as the Ferguson Collaborative and we are proud to shine a spotlight on our grassroots partner in our new report, "The Genius of Ordinary People: How the Ferguson Collaborative Became the Voice of the Community."The report, the first from our Justice Project program, examines how a group of Ferguson community members became activists, changing the City's unconstitutional policing and criminal legal system practices. This group of residents and allies have spent the last five years putting the pressure on local and federal policymakers and courts, ousting a court-appointed official, rallying for the dismissal of thousands of municipal court cases and positioning themselves in powerful seats – including the Ferguson City Council.
In September 2014, at the request of Chief Jon Belmar of the St. Louis County Police Department, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services agreed to conduct an after-action review of the regional police response to massdemonstrations following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.This report summarizes the independent, objective and candid review of police activities for the 17 days followingthe death of Michael Brown. It delves into how the police managed the mass demonstrations in Ferguson and provides48 findings and more than 100 lessons learned.The goal of the assessment was to examine the police response to the mass gatherings, identify significant findings about critical decisions and practices, and develop lessons learned that law enforcement agencies nationwide can use to help build trust, improve relationships, and protect civil rights in the communities they serve. The assessment team reviewed a wide range of documents, including a content analysis of policies, procedures, computer-aided dispatch logs, training materials, training records, arrest records, and other relevant documents from each of the four core law enforcement agencies. The team also performed a content analysis on related news stories, photographs, and videos. The latter two were the most valuable for providing and confirming evidence of practices and facts.
This investigation has revealed a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct within the Ferguson Police Department (FPD) that violates the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and federal statutory law. The authors interviewed City officials, half of FPD's sworn officers, and individuals who reside in Ferguson or who have had interactions with the police department. They reviewed over 35,000 pages of police records as well as thousands of emails and other electronic materials provided by the police department. The investigation contains analysis of FPD's data on stops, searches, citations, and arrests, as well as data collected by the municipal court.