Feds Rake Ferguson Police in New Report

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – Police fueled the violence in Ferguson, Mo., by antagonizing protesters after Michael Brown’s death, the Department of Justice concluded in a soon-to-be released report.
     The report summary found across-the-board flaws in law enforcement response, including violation of speech rights, inappropriate use of tear gas, withholding information that should have been public and relying on military-style equipment that alarmed the community, according to The Associated Press.
     It is the third of four anticipated federal reports on the Ferguson unrest. Courthouse News efforts to obtain a copy of the report were not successful Tuesday.
     The summary is part of an after-action report to be released in coming weeks focusing on Ferguson, St. Louis city and county and the Missouri Highway Patrol’s reaction to the protests. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported on the summary Tuesday and the AP obtained a copy.
     “Had law enforcement released information on the officer-involved shooting in a timely manner and continued the information flow as it became available, community distrust and media skepticism would most likely have been lessened,” the document states, according to the AP.
     The summary has 45 findings, including that use of police dogs for crowd control incited fear and anger, that tear gas was used without warning on protesters who had no way of retreating, and that officers were inconsistent in using force and making arrests.
     The summary said the Ferguson Police Department failed to manage community reaction and had a poor relationship with the black community.
     A St. Louis County grand jury and the Justice Department declined to prosecute former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson after the Brown shooting. In March, the Justice Department released a scathing report on the Ferguson Police Department and the city’s municipal court.

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