Press Releases

Rep. Conyers Commends DOJ for Thorough Investigation of Discriminatory Practices by Ferguson Police Dept.

Washington, DC, March 4, 2015

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement after the Department of Justice released a report that cites the Missouri Ferguson Police Department engaged in a systemic and broad pattern of racially biased enforcement, including the use of unreasonable force against African-Americans:

“In verifying longstanding community complaints, the DOJ Ferguson report sheds important light on the source of friction between the local police and minority communities.  The nationwide protests sparked by the Michael Brown shooting last August should be taken as a wake-up call for police departments, local and the federal government to take a comprehensive look at police practices.

“The report, issued pursuant to a Section 14141 Pattern and Practice investigation, highlights the importance of data collection legislation and the role of the Department of Justice in providing oversight of local police department.  Without these measures, the community would not possess benchmarks or outside authority to ensure that local law enforcement agencies abide by the constitutional standards in policing their communities.

“The federal government must continue to play an important role in guaranteeing law enforcement accountability.  The Ferguson Police Department should not be viewed as an outlier, but must serve as evidence of a need to enact legislation that supports the development of nation standards and requires accreditation of local police departments, especially those receiving federal funding.  Without national standards and oversight, legislation that I plan to introduce, the rift between local communities and police departments will continue to fester and risk the safety of both local citizens and police officers.”

# # #

Rep. Conyers is the sponsor of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) and the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act (LETIA).  Rep. Conyers is also the sponsor of the Pattern and Practice (S- 14141) statute passed as part of the 1994 Crime bill.