Despite a Justice Department report clearing police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder says he will do everything he can to change the law enforcement culture in Ferguson, Mo. If he feels the need to, Holder says he will seek to dismantle the Ferguson Police Department.
“We are prepared to use all the powers that we have, all the power that we have, to ensure that the situation changes there,” Holder told reporters on Friday according to the White House pool report. “That means everything from working with them to coming up with an entirely new structure.”
And Holder did not stop there. He warned police departments across the country to heed his words, lest he go after them next.
“I hope they’re listening to these comments, and understand the intensity with which the feelings are felt at the federal government level to ensure that we use all the tools that we can to make sure that what happened in Ferguson is uncovered and simply does not happen in any other part of the country,” Holder said. “But I also want to make people understand, there are 18,000 police departments in this country, and I think what we saw in Ferguson was an anomaly.”
It’s worth noting that other Missouri law enforcement officials besides the Ferguson Police Department responded to the destructive protests in August and November of 2014, including St. Louis County officers. Given that Ferguson is within St. Louis County limits, folding the police department into the county’s jurisdiction may not prompt the kind of change Holder seems to have in mind.