Ferguson Police Chief Resigns After Federal Findings of Racial Bias
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned this week following federal findings of racial inequality under his leadership and criticism from the Ferguson community.
The St. Louis African American community, jointed by civil rights activists from around the country, sought Jackson's resignation for months.
The resignation will officially take place on March 19.
This isn't the first St. Louis official to recently announce a resignation. Tuesday, the town's chief executive, John Shaw, resigned after a "mutual…agreement" between himself and the City Council. In the same week, Municipal Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer resigned as well.
Each of the these men were named in a federal report regarding the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown, an event that fuelled months of protesting throughout the United States.
According to the report – issued by the U.S. Justice Department last week – Ferguson law enforcement created a "highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided practices."
While the report did not specifically blame Jackson for the "toxic environment," it stated that his policy changes were often ignored.
Jackson wrote, "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 any way I can in my capacity as private citizen."
The Hammer Law Firm, LLC Responds to U.S. Department of Justice Findings
Nicole Chiravollatti, one of the Managing Partners at The Hammer Law Firm, is the appointed Public Defender for the Ballwin Municipal Court.
"There are over 90 municipal courts in St. Louis County that are going to be seriously affected by the Department of Justice's findings regarding Ferguson's discriminatory municipal court practices," she said.
In Ballwin, if a defendant is facing jail time for his or her charges and cannot afford a lawyer, Ms. Chiravollatti is appointed by the city of Ballwin to represent him or her.
At The Hammer Law Firm, it is our hope that the events in Ferguson will result in positive change for the area and that more municipal courts in St. Louis County will begin employing public defenders like Ms. Chiravollatti so that individuals are not sent to jail without representation.