The Mayor of Ferguson wants the Justice Department to release the findings of its investigations stemming from the shooting of Michael Brown, Junior.
It’s been more than six months since Brown was fatally shot by then-Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson. The U.S. Justice Department has been conducting a civil rights investigation of Wilson as well as a broader investigation of the Ferguson Police. Mayor James Knowles, III, wants the findings of those released soon.
Knowles said there are still groups protesting in the region.
“There’s obviously groups that we still see active in the City of St. Louis and other places around the St. Louis region who are continuing to protest and bring to the forefront a number of issues. These groups are likely to be vocal about whatever the outcome is from the Department of Justice,” Knowles told Missourinet. “The citizens in the city, the businesses in the city have been working hard to come together, to move forward, to make the community stronger, and there’s always that concern that these two events — the release of the decision on both officer Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department — could create unrest again, again from outsiders, not necessarily from people inside the city.”
“It is important, too, for the city’s healing to put this being us. To have closure on those two subjects,” Knowles said.
Knowles says he is concerned that politics could be playing a role in those investigations.
“I don’t know what, at this point, they’re still trying to find or what they haven’t found that would lead them to a conclusion on whether to prosecute,” said Knowles. “The Ferguson Police Department is not a very big department. They’ve asked for thousands of documents from us, records and others. We know that they have dozens of people pouring through them. Ultimately it would be helpful to know what their concerns are so that we can again move forward.”
“If it’s just that they’ll continue to look until they find something, it concerns me that it might rise to the level of being political,” said Knowles.
Knowles said he was told by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division it would communicate with his city during the investigation, particularly if there were things it could be doing to improve its police department along the way rather than in one release of information at the end. He said that hasn’t happened.
“Early on there was a couple of memos that we’d gotten during the unrest asking us to ensure that officers did not wear any Darren Wilson bracelets and to make sure they had their name tags on. That’s the only thing the Justice Department has said that they had concerns about our police department in the last [six] months, and that’s very concerning,” said Knowles.