Is this just a political move or a necessary step of action? If Holder is behind this, most likely a political move.
The head of the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services is planning to return to St. Louis in the next few weeks with the goal of helping to ease the tensions between police and black residents in the greater St. Louis area.
COPS Director Ronald Davis said in an interview with The Huffington Post this week that his office will offer training not only to police in the small town of Ferguson, where unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by a white officer earlier this month, but also to various other law enforcement agencies in the region.
“The community voice has been loud and clear, and I heard the same thing on the ground as far as the community having little to no trust in the police in general in that area. And in talking to the police leaders, I think there was an acknowledgement that that is the feeling of a section of the community,” Davis said. He explained that his office’s assistance would be “more long-term” and that it would address the “strained relationship between law enforcement and the community.”
The widely criticized militarized response by area police to both sporadic looting and nonviolent protests in Ferguson only seemed to widen the gulf. Mother Jones reportedthat an officer let his police dog urinate on the Brown memorial site. Seemingly peaceful protests were met with rubber bullets and tear gas. Policelobbed tear gas into residents’ backyards and trained guns on crowds. Even military veterans slammed the use of armored vehicles and snipers as inflammatory and over-the-top.
Davis said that his office had already connected law enforcement officials in Missouri with outside police chiefs experienced in managing protests and the fallout from shooting incidents that had exposed racism and divided communities. The idea was that these chiefs would be able to share approaches that had helped heal neighborhoods and open up lines of communication that had been long closed.
“The key to the COPS office involvement was the initial consultation and connecting them with experts in real time so they were given information to make better decisions,” Davis said.