FBI Starts Civil-Rights Probe of St. Louis Police Conduct

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The FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating police conduct during protests after September’s acquittal of the St. Louis officer for a fatal 2011 shooting, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The investigation centers on “allegations of potential civil rights violations by law enforcement officers” starting on Sept. 15, said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Jensen. The move follows at least three calls for an investigation into police behavior during protests after the acquittal of former officer Jason Stockley. A federal judge last week restricted police use of chemical agents and dispersal orders.

In an unusual move, U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry ordered the police and the American Civil Liberties Union to mediation after a preliminary ruling. Mayor Lyda Krewson said, “Chief (Lawrence) O’Toole and I believe that an independent, third-party review makes sense” and they were pleased to hear about the federal probe. O’Toole has defended police and said dozens of officers have been injured during protests. A Justice Department “pattern and practice” investigation into Ferguson police after the death of Michael Brown led to a critical 2015 report, but DOJ said this year that it was moving away from those types of investigations.

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