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Ferguson police chief steps down

March 12, 2015

Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson is resigning following the publication of a scathing Justice Department report. The city became a flashpoint for racial tensions following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Thomas Jackson
Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ferguson, Missouri, chief of police Thomas Jackson announced his resignation Wednesday in the wake of a damning US Justice Department report that found numerous instances of racially biased practices within the Ferguson police department.

"It is with profound sadness that I am announcing I am stepping down from my position of chief of police," Jackson wrote in his resignation letter, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this great city and to serve with all of you," Jackson wrote.

Jackson has been in charge of the department since 2010. His resignation is effective as of March 19.

The Ferguson police chief's departure is the latest in a string of resignations in the Missouri suburb. On Tuesday, city manager John Shaw stepped down following municipal judge Ronald Brockmeyer's resignation on Monday. Three further employees of the police department and municipal court also left their jobs after the Justice Department report was published.

"The city needs to move forward without any distractions," Jackson said.

Ferguson became a flashpoint for US racial tensions after the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white policeman Darren Wilson on August 9. Riots erupted in the city and protests spread nationwide after a grand jury decided against indicting Wilson.

Eric Holder
US Attorney General Eric Holder has accused the Ferguson police department of unfairly targeting black residentsImage: Getty Images/A. Merendino

The Justice Department also declined to bring civil rights charges against Wilson, but blamed the Ferguson police department in a scathing report for disproportionately arresting black residents as a means to fund city coffers.

A US law enforcement official told the Associated Press Wednesday that the Justice Department did not pressure Jackson to resign, but also had not resisted the idea.

Michael Brown's parents are planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson and Darren Wilson, who resigned from the police department after the shooting.

bw/gsw (Reuters, AP, AFP)