The report is daunting, and it tears apart the Ferguson Police Department’s systemic discrimination against blacks.
After a months-long investigation, federal investigators issued a scathing report Wednesday highlighting discriminatory and unconstitutional practices by law enforcement in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
And even though the Justice Department cleared Darren Wilson, a white former police officer, in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, it highlighted a range of abuses committed against African-American residents by police.
But Ferguson is hardly the first place to be scrutinized by the Justice Department. Here are a few others that have been accused of various forms of discrimination:
What it found: Federal investigators documented various instances of unnecessary force, including two unarmed civilians shot more than 20 times after a high-speed chase with police. A Justice Department report cited alarming examples in December to show that Cleveland police used unnecessary force and employed “dangerous tactics” that put the community at risk. Officers excessively used guns, Tasers and fists, sometimes against the mentally ill. Accountability, or the lack thereof, was also a theme of the Justice Department report.
What happened next: The federal investigation started in 2013 after a controversial case the previous year. In that incident, more than 100 officers were involved in a high-speed chase that ended with the deaths of two unarmed civilians. Throughout the investigation, the federal investigators provided feedback and observations to city officials, which gave them a jump-start on reform.
Where things stand: A federal court is keeping tabs on Cleveland police as part of a legal agreement. The city and the Justice Department signed an agreement “to develop a court-enforceable consent decree” that mandates independent monitoring of reforms.
East Haven, Connecticut
What it found: Latinos were subjected to more traffic stops, harsher treatment and retaliation over discrimination complaints, a Justice Department report said. Those were just some of the patterns of discrimination and biased policing cited by federal investigators in their 2011 report. “Our investigation found that East Haven has an extensive history of past discrimination that it has failed to meaningfully address or remedy,” the federal report said.
What happened next: In 2012, the FBI arrested four police officers for allegedly targeting Latinos in more than 30 incidents among them.
Where things stand: Since then, experts have monitored the police department’s compliance and provided reports to the court. The latest report, issued in August, says the department has made “remarkable” changes. “They have not wavered once on their commitments under the settlement agreement,” the report said.
Missoula County, Montana
What it found: This case highlighted allegations of gender bias against victims of sexual assault. It started two years ago after the Justice Department threatened a lawsuit against local authorities for not doing enough to seek justice for rape victims. As a result, local police and prosecutors pledged reforms, and the University of Montana launched programs to address sensitivity to sexual assault.
What happened next: The county attorney accused the federal government of bullying and sued it in federal court, saying the Justice Department defamed prosecutors and demanding it provide evidence to support its case.
Where things stand: After a two-year standoff, the Justice Department reached an agreement with county officials last year. It said the county has pledged to implement sexual assault policies, train prosecutors, improve communication between law enforcement officers and victims, and improve data sharing, among other measures. As a result, the county attorney dismissed the suit. The Missoula attorney general was tapped to monitor the implementation of the measures and review sexual assault cases.
New Orleans, Louisiana
What it found: Minorities were subjected to excessive force, illegal stops and pat-down searches, among other things, federal investigators said in a 2011 report. Dogs in the police department’s K-9 unit were “uncontrollable” and attacked their handlers, it added. And despite factoring in the city’s demographics, more African-American residents were arrested, compared with white residents. It also said police targeted transgender people for arrest on prostitution charges.
What happened next: Hundreds of police officers in the city retired after the investigation. The Justice Department also outlined a series of measures, including the immediate suspension of some dogs. A year after the report, both parties agreed to proposed changes under a consent decree. They included comprehensive policies, application of such policies uniformly and accountability for officers. Other measures include documenting factors such as race, ethnicity and gender of occupants in a car during a traffic stop.
Where things stand: Last year, a report said not all police officers use body and in-car cameras as mandated by federal investigators. Of the 145 incidents where use of force was suspected, only 49 had been recorded as required, according to the report, cited by the Times-Picayune. “Moving forward, we will address issues on a case-by-case basis through additional training and discipline when warranted,” Interim Superintendent Michael Harrison told the paper.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
What it found: The Justice Department accused the city’s police department of engaging in “a pattern” of using excessive force after a two-year investigation. It said that in some troubling instances, officers failed to turn on their cameras and recorders before such encounters.
What happened next: Federal officials suggested overhaul plans for the city, which they said were well received. They included the reporting of any use of force, including pointing of firearms; new policies on use of force; and more sensitivity toward mentally ill people.
Where things stand: Last year, federal and local officials reached an agreement that calls for changes to be implemented within four years and an independent monitor to be appointed.
Newark, New Jersey
What it found: Four years ago, the Justice Department started investigating the police department after receiving allegations of use of excessive force, unwarranted stops and arrests, and discrimination against African-Americans. Its review found that of all the city’s stops, about 75% were not justifiable.
What happened next: During the investigation, both sides admitted that policing the city is a challenge because of its high crime rate and limited budget. They pledged to work together with residents and the city’s leadership to implement changes such better police training and improve their response to sexual assault complaints.
Where things stand: In January, the Justice Department posted an application for a federal monitoring team for Newark police.
Maricopa County, Arizona
What it found: A federal investigation of the Sheriff’s Office found that it engaged in discriminatory policing and jail practices. The Sheriff’s Office was notified of the formal federal investigation in March 2009 and for 18 months “consistently refused to cooperate” with it, the Justice Department said. As a result, in September 2010, the federal government sued Maricopa County under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the county then “reversed course,” allowing federal investigators access.
What happened next: During the investigation, the Justice Department found that deputies “engaged in a widespread pattern or practice of law enforcement and jail activities that discriminated against Latinos,” according to a December 2011 letter of finding by the department.
Where things stand: In May of 2013, a federal judge ruled that Maricopa County’s handling of people of Latino descent was not thorough enforcement of immigration laws but instead was racial and ethnic profiling. A court has imposed changes, but the federal government says Sheriff Joe Arpaio may be in contempt of the court orders, and a hearing is scheduled for April. The Justice Department says it is working “to reach an agreement to remedy the unconstitutional conduct we found.”
CNN’s Toby Lyles and Sarah Aarthun contributed to this report.