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During a meeting last night, residents of Ferguson, Mo. provided the Department of Justice with detailed accounts of their encounters with law enforcement. The agency was dispatched to the St. Louis suburb after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed there by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson last month.
According to the Associated Press, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division held a meeting at St. Louis Community College's Florissant Valley campus to get insight from people who live in and around Ferguson about possible police misconduct. A reported 300 people attended, eager to share their stories:
Brandon Smith, 28, told investigators he moved away from Ferguson four years ago because he was constantly harassed. He said he was once cited for "manner of walking in roadway" and jailed on $1,000 bond for the misdemeanor. He said he posted bond and never got the money back.
Yolanda Lanns, 43, said her family was at a store where a disturbance broke out. Police assumed her husband was part of the fracas "because he was black," used a stun gun on him three times and took him to jail, Lanns said. She said he had nothing to do with the fight.
Joyce Washington, 55, of neighboring Cool Valley, said all three of her adults sons have been pulled over repeatedly in Ferguson.
It's just because they're young, black men, Washington said. Now they won't drive through Ferguson. I want to know why our children have to take alternative routes to get to our destinations.
The agency's aim is to figure out if police in Ferguson had discriminated against anyone, utilized excessive force or violated residents' constitutional rights. The Associated Press adds that Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson is open to the investigation.
[via Associated Press]
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