Ferguson Police Chief Resigns Following Justice Department Report

Ferguson Protest

Ferguson, Missouri Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who was the face of the department during the unrest over last year’s shooting death of Michael Brown, agreed to step down on Wednesday.

Jackson handed in his resignation letter on Wednesday, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he believes it’s the appropriate choice as the “city needs to move forward without any distractions.”

Last week, the Department of Justice issued a report finding systemic racial bias in Ferguson’s court system and police department that was driven by profits. The report cited racial profiling and alleged the city’s court system was a money-making enterprise targeting minorities and poor residents.

Jackson became the well-known face of the department, appearing on television in interviews as violent protests rocked the suburb. As anger intensified over the shooting death of Brown, Jackson, who is white, was often seen looking visibly overwhelmed, according to the Los Angeles Times, with residents and protesters heckling him during appearances.

Justice Department investigators say that off-screen, Jackson was one of many in the city’s law enforcement that ticketed, jailed and profiled black residents. The report said that, since he started the job, Jackson was encouraged by city officials to increase revenue by fining residents and motorists passing through the city. When Jackson reported increased revenue, he was applauded by city leaders in internal email correspondence.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– James Knowles III” author_title=”Ferguson Mayor”]

After a lot of soul-searching, it is very hard for him to leave, and for us to have him leave. He felt this was the best way to move forward.


Jackson’s resignation will take effect on March 19. He will receive severance pay of about $100,000 and health insurance for one year.

Since the Justice Department report was released, two police officers, a court clerk, the city manager and the municipal judge have been fired or resigned. The two police officers resigned after being linked to racist emails. Jackson, 57, is now the third top city official to leave following the investigation.

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