The U.S. congressman for Ferguson, the Missouri city where 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson, is hoping that the Justice Department will find the city’s police department incompetent and disband the entire force.
Democratic representative Lacy Clay is hoping that the Justice Department will take a close look at the practices of the police force in Ferguson and not only find them guilty of using excessive force and the “oppressive” treatment of Blacks, but that they will also disband the entire force and put more power in control of the St. Louis County police.
“With the patterns and practice investigation, I would hope that the Ferguson Police Department would be dissolved and the duties and responsibilities of policing Ferguson would be turned over to the St. Louis County police,” Clay said in an interview, according to Raw Story.
Clay believes that the law enforcements for St. Louis County would be far more effective than the Ferguson officers, who lack professionalism in his eyes.
“They are working toward being a more diverse police force, St. Louis County is,” Clay said. “And I think they have a little more professionalism, as well as training necessary to police diverse communities.”
Clay, who is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said the St. Louis County officers have successfully stepped in in the past to take responsibilities away from incompetent officers in other neighboring cities.
The Ferguson lawmaker wasn’t painting the St. Louis County officers as being perfect, however, as he noted that their “militarized” response to protesters following Brown’s death was out of line.
Clay’s call for the force to be disbanded comes at the same time that the Justice Department found the Cleveland Police Department guilty of using excessive force and the “employment of poor and dangerous tactics.”
In a detailed report, the Justice Department “specifically noted how African-Americans view the department as targeting the African-American community for excessive force and brutality,” as Atlanta Blackstar reported. “The Justice Department found that not only do Cleveland police officers too often use unnecessary and unreasonable force in violation of the Constitution, but that ‘supervisors tolerate this behavior and, in some cases, endorse it.’ “
After one Cleveland officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice for holding a toy gun, the community is hopeful that this report will help lead to an indictment for the officer who killed an African-American child.
While the Cleveland police force will not be disbanded, an independent third party will monitor it.
Meanwhile, Clay also believes some major changes need to be made when it comes to the very nature of police shooting investigations.
The Ferguson lawmaker said he is “not comfortable” with prosecutors handling police shootings and is going to make a push for “referring all police shootings to the U.S. Attorney.”