A report from the U.S. Department of Justice on how police responded to protests in Ferguson, Mo., following the shooting death of Michael Brown last summer has drawn both praise and criticism from those involved in the protests, says St. Louis Public Radio. The 188-page document released on Wednesday was at times blistering in its criticism of the way state and local police acted when dealing with the protesters. The report’s authors found that inconsistent leadership led to officers to use ineffective policing strategies and tactics that often inflamed tensions.
“There was never really control of the chaos because of the lack of coordination,” said one of the authors, Rick Braziel, a retired Sacramento police chief. He criticized the improper use of police canines for crowd control, tactics such as “overwatch,” where snipers took positions atop armored vehicles and used their gun sites to watch the crowd, and a failure to track less-lethal weapons such as stinger balls and tear gas. The report also criticized the way tear gas was deployed, saying it was used without regard for nearby residential areas and without proper warning.