WASHINGTON\ (Sputnik) — Racial problems affect every facet of law enforcement and justice in St. Louis County, Missouri, where the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police sparked weeks of civil unrest, a US police policy and research organization said in a report.
“Race is an issue that permeates almost every aspect of policing and justice in St. Louis City and County,” the report, released by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) on Monday, said.
The August 9, 2014, fatal shooting of Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson gave new urgency to PERF’s initiative to investigate policing policies in St. Louis, the report explained.
The roots of the crisis took hold long before Wilson’s deadly encounter with Brown and racial tensions extend well beyond the city of Ferguson, the report revealed.
“[W]e heard residents and police officials say on a number of occasions that Ferguson was not considered among the worst police departments in the region,” the report said.
PERF provided a number of recommendations to address the racial issues plaguing law enforcement agencies in St. Louis County, including improving use-of-force policies, training standards and local community outreach.
Failure to address racial issues, the report warned, will hinder any efforts to enhance the quality of policing.
Numerous high-profile cases of police brutality, mostly against African Americans, have come under public scrutiny over the past year. US police have killed at least 360 people in 2015, according to the Killed By Police incident-monitoring website.