“The federal civil investigation into the Ferguson Police Department will continue and has the potential to result in some very significant reforms,” William Yeomans, who supervised police investigations as a top Justice Department official, tells the Los Angeles Times. The civil investigation into the Ferguson Police Department is examining whether there is a pattern of violations of citizens’ rights. Such investigations can take considerable time but are more likely to yield results than federal criminal investigations, experts say.
Justice Department officials say investigators are looking into whether Ferguson police have a history of using excessive force against suspects and are examining past lawsuits against five of the city’s police officers, including one in which a man with mental health problems was killed with a Taser. They are also reviewing allegations that traffic stops occur disproportionally in black neighborhoods and that unwarranted traffic citations are fueled by the municipality’s thirst for money. Traffic tickets provide a quarter of Ferguson’s revenue, according to one study. The Justice Department also is looking at the treatment of detainees in the Ferguson city jail.