- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday the Justice Department has found a “pattern of excessive force” and financial exploitation by law enforcement agencies in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Local authorities consistently approached law enforcement not as a means for protecting public safety, but as a way to generate revenue,” Mr. Holder said during a speech at the Justice Department’s Washington headquarters, following the release of the department’s final report on its investigation into Ferguson.

Mr. Holder said that some of the concerns raised by protestors over the past few months are justified.

Ferguson police wrote 50 percent more citations last year than they did in 2010, Mr. Holder said, a rise that was not accompanied by an increase in crime. In addition, it was “commonplace” for someone to face multiple violations for the same offense just so police could charge additional fines.

Blacks were also routinely charged with a “highly-discretionary offense described as ‘Manner of Walking Along Roadway,’” Mr. Holder said.

He added that there was evidence of excessive force used against black citizens, including “abusive and dangerous” use of Tasers and police dogs.

Mr. Holder threatened federal legal action against the city of Ferguson if reforms were not made.

“The United States Department of Justice reserves all its rights and abilities to force compliance and implement basic change,” Mr. Holder said. “Nothing is off the table.”

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