The police deliberately denied Ferguson protesters the right to free speech using military-style tactics of crowd control last summer, the U.S. Justice Department says.
A draft report from the Justice Department, obtained Tuesday by news agency Reuters, criticizes the police clampdown of protests that were ignited over the killing of Michael Brown, a black teenager, at the hands of a white Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014.
Among the report’s 45 findings are that the police engaged in arbitrary force and arrests while provoking fear and anger among protesters by deploying dogs and shooting teargas without warning.
In addition, the report criticized the police for the use of snipers atop armored vehicles to monitor the crowds because it allegedly "served only to exacerbate tensions."
The Justice Department further criticized police for denying protesters their constitutional right to free speech and evading accountability for police actions by removing their nameplates.
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The lack of accountability by Ferguson’s security forces was also criticized for not providing transparency about Brown’s killing.
The full report is expected to be released in upcoming weeks, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Justice Department and police officials are scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the findings.
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