In the wake of last Saturday’s tragic police shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year old unarmed African American teen in Ferguson, Missouri, who was shot multiple times and killed by a Ferguson police officer, Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) Missouri, joined by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Congressman John Conyers (D) Michigan, and Congresswoman Marsha Fudge (D) Ohio have asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to expand the scope of the FBI investigation into the shooting, including a rigorous review of patterns of alleged police misconduct.
In their letter to Attorney General Holder. Mr. Clay and his colleagues wrote:
“In light of the foregoing developments, we ask the Department of Justice to investigate the shooting of Michael Brown, looking at both the facts of the specific incident as well as the potential for any pattern or practice of police misconduct by the Ferguson Police Department.
We understand that the St. Louis County Police Department is investigating the matter in order to have some level of independent investigation take place, but this arrangement is insufficient for at least two reasons.
First, the St. Louis County Police Department may not be the most objective or credible body to investigate civil rights matters involving law enforcement given evidence of racial profiling by that department in the recent past, which Congressman Clay had asked the Department of Justice to investigate.
Second, only the federal government has the resources, the experience, and the full independence to give this case the close scrutiny that the citizens of Ferguson and the greater St. Louis area deserve. Moreover, to the extent that a pattern or practice of police misconduct may exist, such misconduct would be a clear violation of federal law, including 42 U.S.C. § 14141, which makes it unlawful for State or local law enforcement officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Such conduct would include the use of excessive force by police.”