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Ferguson's Police Chief Is Finally Resigning

Thomas Jackson's resignation is perhaps the most tangible effect so far of last week's scathing Justice Department report on racist policing practices in the Missouri city.

by Allie Conti
Mar 11 2015, 9:01pm

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. Photo via Flickr user Jamelle Bouie

After looking into the practices of the Ferguson Police Department, the feds announced last week that the city needed to take some extreme measures to get its act together. The Department of Justice's report said, essentially, that Ferguson's entire law enforcement system is a mess of flaws and bad practices—black citizens are stopped and harassed far more often than whites, city officials seem to look on constituents as little more than potential revenue sources, and some convoluted policies made it incredibly hard for people to pay fines.

Last Wednesday, a clerk named Mary Ann Twitty, who was repeatedly cited in the report and had a history of sending racist emails, was fired. Then, on Monday, Ferguson Municipal Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer called it quits, with City Manager John Shaw following suit a day later. Shaw's parting words were that he had cooperated with the feds to help improve city police but that he "never instructed the police department to target African Americans, nor falsify charges to administer fines, nor heap abuses on the backs of the poor."

Of course, the guys actually carrying out those egregious practices reported to Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. On Wednesday, he announced his own resignation, which will be effective March 19. The news came out of a city council meeting, and was approved 7-0 by council members. The St. Louis Post Dispatch has his (brief) resignation letter available online, and the local Fox affiliate in St. Louis will livestream a statement from the soon-to-be-ex-chief that's scheduled for 6:30 PM EST.

Ferguson will now launch a national search for Jackson's replacement, which will undoubtedly be a tricky process. After all, who would want to take over a mess like this, with federal investigators and the general public still seething at years of outrageous policing? Whoever it is, he or she will need a lot of luck.

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