The U.S. Justice Department pressured the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department to stop its officers from wearing bracelets stamped with the message “I am Darren Wilson,” in solidarity with the police officer who is being investigated for shooting an unarmed black 18-year-old, and from covering up their name plates with tape, the New York Times reports. The bracelets were photographed on the wrists of several Ferguson police officers who were interacting with demonstrators this week as protests flared up once again.
A grand jury is looking into the shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, and the police department is under investigation by the Justice Department for possible civil rights violations. In a stern letter to Police Chief Thomas Jackson, Christy Lopez of the Justice Department's civil rights division, said that the bracelets “upset and agitated people.” Lopez noted that Jackson had agreed to prohibit officers from wearing the “I am Darren Wilson” bracelets while in uniform and on duty. She also said that police officers were reported to have placed black tape over their name plates, a violation of the police department's own policies. Ferguson officials canceled an event called StreetFest that had been scheduled for this weekend, citing safety concerns.