Attorney General Eric Holder vowed a firm response to “appalling” racial misconduct by law enforcement officials in Ferguson, Mo., suggesting he was prepared to seek the dismantling of the police force there if necessary, the New York Times reports. “We are prepared to use all the powers that we have, all the power that we have, to ensure that the situation changes there,” Holder said. “That means everything from working with them to coming up with an entirely new structure.” Asked if that included dismantling the police force, Holder said: “If that's what's necessary, we're prepared to do that.”
Two police supervisors in Ferguson resigned after being linked to racist emails turned up by a Justice Department investigation. The two supervisors, Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd, left the force on Thursday. A third employee, Mary Ann Twitty, clerk of the Municipal Court, was fired on Wednesday for her role in the emails. Officials did not say whether any of the three actually wrote the emails, or whether other employees were involved in writing or forwarding them. Capt. Henke had been with the Ferguson Police Department since 1979, and was acting police chief for several months in 1997 and 1998. Last fall, he led a “night muster” of officers from other departments assigned to protect Ferguson's Police Headquarters. Sgt. Mudd had been with the Ferguson police for more than two decades. In 1992, he was involved in a courthouse shootout with a man who had killed his wife and wounded several others. He and other officers who shot and wounded the gunman were hailed as heroes.