Eric Holder | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Holder

Jeff Roberson | Associated Press

The Justice Department has neither the authority nor the staffing to expand its investigation of unconstitutional police and court practices from Ferguson to surrounding municipalities, legal experts say.

Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson Aug. 20.
Office of U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay

The Ferguson police department and municipal court engaged in such a widespread pattern of unconstitutional conduct that it lost the trust of the people, the Justice Department concluded after a seven-month investigation.

Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday attempted to reconcile the contrasting outcomes of two separate Justice Department investigations stemming from the shooting death of Michael Brown -- one that cleared then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in Brown's death, the other that called Ferguson's police and court system racially biased.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Seven months after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, the U.S. Department of Justice today released two investigations - one that cleared Wilson and the other that accused Ferguson police and courts of violating constitutional rights.

Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson Aug. 20.
Office of U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay

The message to U.S. Attorney Eric Holder from Ferguson: hurry up.

In an open letter to Holder sent late last month, several Ferguson business owners, residents and even the mayor urged Holder to quickly release findings from his office’s federal investigation into Michael Brown’s death.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 11 am, Thurs., Oct 9 with links to national coverage.) When St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay meets with mayors and police chiefs from around the country this week in Little Rock, Ark., he’ll be talking about the lessons learned from the turmoil in Ferguson. 

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson issued on Thursday a wide-ranging apology to Michael Brown’s family — and to demonstrators who felt their constitutional right to protest was violated in the wake of Brown's death.

Eric Holder, when his appointment was announced

Almost a year before Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, laying bare a raw nerve of distrust and hostility between the city’s black residents and its almost exclusively white police force, Attorney General Eric Holder stood before an international gathering of police chiefs in Philadelphia and said it was time to bridge the divide between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson Aug. 20.
Office of U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay

Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that his conversations with residents of Ferguson during his visit two weeks ago influenced his decision to investigate the city’s police department.

Holder says he heard directly from residents and listening sessions “about the deep mistrust that has taken hold between law enforcement officials and members of the community. ... People consistently expressed concerns stemming from specific alleged incidents, from general policing practices, and from the lack of diversity on Ferguson’s police force.”

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, left, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Attorney General Eric Holder met on Wednesday to talk about the killing of Michael Brown.
Provided by the office of Rep. Clay

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder returned to Washington late Wednesday after meeting with the family of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old whose shooting by a Ferguson police officer has touched off almost two weeks of protests, looting and unrest.

Holder also held sessions with local officials, college students, community leaders and Justice Department personnel. He told reporters his aim was to help provide “a calming influence on the area."

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Attorney General Eric Holder says the federal drug court established by the Eastern District of Missouri is exactly the kind of program needed to help address the country's soaring prison population.

"It's a holistic approach here," Holder said. "You have the court system, the prosecutor, the public defender's office the probation office. We just saw that this was kind of what we envisioned. It was something that we wanted to highlight and them duplicate."

Rally to protest George Zimmerman's acquittal was held Sunday night in front of St. Louis' Justice Center.
Jarred Gastreich | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Justice Department could prosecute George Zimmerman for a hate crime under federal law, but such a dual prosecution would not be justified without more proof of a racial motivation by Zimmerman or ineptitude by state prosecutors.

That is the view of legal experts in St. Louis who followed the Florida prosecution of Zimmerman for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a young African-American man.