The fallout from the Department of Justice’s scathing report on the Ferguson, Missouri police force and judicial system continues to echo through the city as Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson officially announced his resignation today effective immediately, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
“It is with profound sadness that I am announcing I am stepping down from my position as chief of police for the city of Ferguson, Missouri,” Jackson said in his resignation letter. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this great city and to serve with all of you. I will continue to assist the city in anyway I can in my capacity as private citizen.”
The Justice Department accused Jackson of using the police department as a means to generate revenue for the city, with the department’s “emphasis on ticket writing” a major contributor to the tensions between the police and the citizens that ultimately resulted in the death of Michael Brown. Ferguson’s police force and court system had issued over $3.1 million in fines last year, or nearly a quarter of Ferguson’s 2015 fiscal budget. Jackson was also criticized for lobbying for 12-hour shifts, holding people in jail for over 72 hours and only using police canines on African-American suspects.
Since the Justice Department’s investigation uncovered a legal system that was “systematically biased against African-Africans,” as President Barack Obama said in a speech condemning Ferguson Police, the city has seen many of its top ranking officials either step down or be relieved of duty. First, two police officers, Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd, resigned after the Justice Department report alleged they had sent racist emails to each other.
The city then fired court clerk Mary Ann Twitty and accepted the resignation of municipal judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer for their roles in an “aggressive” court fines system. This system resulted in arrest warrants for many lower-class Ferguson residents unable to pay their minor offense or city code violations, “many of which are widely considered abusive and may be unlawful,” the Justice Department wrote. City Manager John Shaw, one of the most powerful officials in Ferguson, resigned Tuesday night.
The government conducted its investigation after a grand jury decided not to indict policeman Darren Wilson, who is white, in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. The Justice Department also published a recent report clearing Wilson of alleged civil rights violations and ruling that he had acted in self-defense. Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department last November.