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Ferguson, Missouri, has become "an emblem of the tense relationship" between law enforcement and those it serves, especially minority communities, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday during a visit to St. Louis.
Sessions, speaking to a gathering of law enforcement leaders at the federal courthouse that sits roughly 12 miles from Ferguson, said the Justice Department will work with them to battle the rising tide of violent crime in America. He said he supports "proactive, up-close policing — when officers get out of their squad cars and interact with everyone on their beat — that builds trust, prevents violent crime, saves lives and creates a good atmosphere."
Sessions - Sort - Police - Work - Age
But Sessions said that sort of police work has become increasingly difficult in what he called "an age of viral videos and targeted killings of police."
"Unfortunately, in recent years law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the crime and unacceptable deeds of a few in their ranks," Sessions said. "Amid this intense public scrutiny and criticism, morale has gone down, while the number in their ranks killed in the line of duty has gone up."
Ferguson - Emblem - Tense - Relationship - Law
Ferguson, he said, has become "an emblem of the tense relationship between law enforcement and the communities we serve, especially our minority communities."
Ferguson became a flashpoint after 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, was killed by white officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. Months of often violent protests followed the shooting. A St. Louis County grand jury and the Justice Department cleared Wilson of wrongdoing in November 2014, and he resigned that same month.
Justice - Department - Investigation - General - Eric
But the Justice Department investigation under then-Attorney General Eric Holder found significant racial profiling and bias in both Ferguson's police department and municipal court. The city and the Justice Department settled a lawsuit last year that requires significant changes in...
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