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Publication Date

Winter 2015


On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an 18-year old Black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a white policeman with the Ferguson Police Department. The incident sparked protests and acts of vandalism in Ferguson as well as widespread calls for an investigation into the incident. On September 3, 2014, The Justice Department announced that it would open a broad civil rights investigation that would examine whether the Ferguson police had a history of discrimination or misuse of force beyond the Michael Brown case. On March 4. 2015, Attorney General Eric H. Holder publicly criticized the Ferguson Police Department for "implicit and explicit racial bias" and "routinely violating the constitutional rights of its black residents." In the wake of this public criticism as well as specific events detailed in the 105-page report released by the Department of Justice, 1 examined qualitative perspectives offered by respondents on The Huffington Post website. Qualitative analysis of the findings revealed the following themes: Theme 1: High Regard for Members of Law Enforcement: Theme 2: Disgust for Police and Government within Ferguson; Theme 3: Disregard for DOJ and its Report on Ferguson; Theme 4: Trust in DOJ Report on Ferguson: Theme 5: Police Corruption Extends beyond Ferguson; Theme 6: No Hope in Systemic Change for Ferguson; and Theme 7: Recommendations for Change in Ferguson. In general, while a few individuals had high regard for members of law enforcement or were skeptical of the Justice Department's Report on Ferguson, the overwhelming majority of respondents believed the report was valid.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Western Journal of Black Studies

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