U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Department of Justice will begin an investigation into the Ferguson, Mo. police department after the shooting of Michael Brown. Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed on Aug. 9 by Darren Wilson, a white, six-year veteran of the police department.
The shooting spurred riots and looting of local businesses. One peaceful daytime protest run by the NAACP and local volunteers quickly transitioned into a violent volley of rocks, homemade Molotov cocktails and tear gas between the protestors and police as night fell.
The shooting and subsequent protests pushed Attorney General Holder to travel to Ferguson to assess the situation, before ordering an official investigation, citing “deep mistrust” between the citizens of Ferguson and the police force, CBS reported.
According to NBC, Holder said the investigation would determine whether the Ferguson officers had “engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of the U.S. Constitution or federal law.” It will also look into the police use of force, traffics stops, searches and treatment of detainees.
Ferguson, where two-thirds majority of the citizens are African- American, has only four black officers out of the department’s 54 total members. Citizens of Ferguson are welcoming the federal investigation, criticizing the local officers for being biased.
The Department of Justice’s investigation, along with a separate civil rights probe and Ferguson’s own inquiries, have propelled the city into the national spotlight. According to CBS, it will be several weeks before the results of these investigations are made public.
Editor’s note: Information from CBS, NBC and CNN was used in this report.