Feds launch policing bias study

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Feds launch policing bias study
In this Feb. 11, 2014 image from video released by the City of Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson attends a city council meeting in Ferguson. Police identified Wilson, 28, as the police officer who shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, sparking over a week of protests in the suburban St. Louis town. (AP Photo/City of Ferguson)
Protester Hana Kato, of Tacoma, Wash., holds a sign that reads "Arrest Darren Wilson" as she attends an evening rally Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Tacoma, Wash. Wilson has been identified as the police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, an event that has sparked nightly clashes between protesters and police. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson releases the name of the the officer accused of fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Jackson announced that the officer's name is Darren Wilson. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at the Justice Department in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Police Chief Thomas Jackson fields questions related to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown during a press conference on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed speaks during a rally for justice for Michael Brown, and the people of Ferguson, Mo., on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Christina Bijou, from Greenbelt, Md., holds a sign during a rally outside the Department of Justice, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Washington, to call on the Attorney General Eric Holder to help secure justice for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was shot by police in Ferguson, Mo., and the people of Ferguson, Mo. They also called for an overhaul of US law enforcement tactics in order to stop police brutality and the militarization of police forces. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson releases the name of the the officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Jackson announced that the officer's name is Darren Wilson. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A participant holds a sign at a prayer vigil for Michael Brown outside the McNamara Federal Building in Detroit Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. Brown, a black 18-year-old who was unarmed, he was shot Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo., by Officer Darren Wilson, who is white. A grand jury is considering evidence in the case and a federal investigation is also underway. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The police chief in the St. Louis suburb where an officer fatally shot an unarmed teenager said Wednesday that cyber-attacks on his city's website won't sway him into releasing the officer's name. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson, right, touch the vault containing Michael Brown's casket during Brown's funeral at St. Peters Cemetery in Normandy, Mo., Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. Hundreds of people gathered to say goodbye to Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shot and killed Aug. 9 in a confrontation with a police officer that fueled almost two weeks of street protests. (AP Photo/New York Times, Richard Perry, Pool)
In this Feb. 11, 2014 image from video released by the City of Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson attends a city council meeting in Ferguson. Police identified Wilson, 28, as the police officer who shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, sparking over a week of protests in the suburban St. Louis town. (AP Photo/City of Ferguson)
Attorney General Eric Holder shakes hands with Bradley J. Rayford, 22 following his meeting at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley in Ferguson, Mo., Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Holder arrived in Missouri on Wednesday, a small group of protesters gathered outside the building where a grand jury could begin hearing evidence to determine whether a Ferguson police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown should be charged in his death. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
Attorney General Eric Holder shakes hands with Bri Ehsan, 25, right, following his meeting with students at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley in Ferguson, Mo., Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Holder arrived in Missouri on Wednesday, a small group of protesters gathered outside the building where a grand jury could begin hearing evidence to determine whether a Ferguson police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown should be charged in his death. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool)
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 in Florrissant, Mo. Holder arrived in Missouri on Wednesday, a small group of protesters gathered outside the building where a grand jury could begin hearing evidence to determine whether a Ferguson police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown should be charged in his death. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
Attorney General Eric Holder touches the forehead of Yusayrah Jones, 2, has he arrives at Drake's Place Restaurant for a meeting with community leaders, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 in Florrissant, Mo. Holder arrived in Missouri on Wednesday, a small group of protesters gathered outside the building where a grand jury could begin hearing evidence to determine whether a Ferguson police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown should be charged in his death. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
Attorney General Eric Holder arrives at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Holder is traveling to Ferguson, Mo., to oversee the federal government’s investigation into the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer on Aug. 9th. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool)
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson releases the name of the the officer accused of fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Jackson announced that the officer's name is Darren Wilson. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators raise their hands as they gather on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Capt. Ronald Johnson (Front, 2nd R) of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, walks on West Florissant Avenue where demonstrators gather to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators raise gather at West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Capt. Ronald Johnson (3rd R) of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, is taken photo with a demonstrator on West Florissant Avenue during the protest over the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Capt. Ronald Johnson (R) of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, talks to police officers standing outside a market where Michael Brown allegedly stole some cigars before being killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators hold up signs as they gather at West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old unarmed teen was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, UNITED STATES - AUGUST 15: Police Chief Ronald Johnson (C) speaks to media about the latest developments on killing of Michael Brown by police nearly a week ago in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, United States on August 15, 2014. Police in Ferguson have changed their procedure for dealing with the protests after being chastised for a heavy-handed approach which has resulted in four days of violence. Police cars and officers on foot led the way during a protest march. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Demonstrators raise their hands as they protest the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown was killed in broad daylight on August 9, 2014, with witnesses and law enforcement providing conflicting accounts of how the 18-year-old lost his life. AFP PHOTO / Joshua LOTT (Photo credit should read Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)
Attorney Daryl D. Parks speaks about the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown during a news conference as Brown's stepfather Louis Head (2nd-R/blue shirt) and cousin Eric Davis (3rd-R/orange shirt), a cousin of Michael Brown, look on August 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown was killed in broad daylight on August 9, 2014 , with witnesses and law enforcement providing conflicting accounts of how the 18-year-old lost his life. AFP PHOTO / Joshua LOTT (Photo credit should read Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators protest the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 15, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown was killed in broad daylight on August 9, 2014, with witnesses and law enforcement providing conflicting accounts of how the 18-year-old lost his life. AFP PHOTO / Joshua LOTT (Photo credit should read Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A man watches as police walk through a cloud of smoke during a clash with protesters Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing Molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A device deployed by police goes off in the street as police and protesters clash Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Authorities in the St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black teen was shot and killed by a police officer have used tear gas to try to disperse protesters after flaming projectiles were thrown from the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A man picks up a flaming bottle and prepares to throw it as a line of police advance in the distance Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Authorities the St. Louis suburb where an unarmed black teen was shot and killed by a police officer have used tear gas to try to disperse protesters after flaming projectiles were thrown from the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Protesters sit in the middle of a street holding hands as Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal at left, wears a button remembering Michael Brown, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Nights of unrest have vied with calls for calm in a St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown, unarmed black teenager was killed by police, while the community is still pressing for answers about the weekend shooting. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Police attempt to secure a street after a clash with protesters Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
An explosive device deployed by police flies in the air as police and protesters clash Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
An armored personnel carrier speeds down the street Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A protester kicks a smoke grenade deployed by police back in the direction of police, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing Molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A protester runs through smoke deployed by police Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing Molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Organizers Yemisi Miller-Tonnet, left, and Jonathan Lykes take turns speaking to the crowd during a rally at Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcom X Park, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 in Washington, to protest the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Mo. Vigils were held across the country for people organizers say died at the hands of police brutality. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Hadiza Sa-Aadu, of Atlanta, Georgia, listens to speakers gathered on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Decatur, Georgia, at the town square. The demonstration of more than 200 people was held in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown and following unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. (AP Photo/ Ron Harris)
In this Feb. 11, 2014 image from video released by the City of Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson attends a city council meeting in Ferguson. Police identified Wilson, 28, as the police officer who shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, sparking over a week of protests in the suburban St. Louis town. (AP Photo/City of Ferguson)
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People run through smoke, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Police advance through smoke, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A person runs through smoke Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Police walk through a cloud of smoke as they clash with protesters Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death turned violent Wednesday night, with people lobbing molotov cocktails at police who responded with smoke bombs and tear gas to disperse the crowd. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A community activist tries to persuade a group of protesters to move back as police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A small dog is held on a leash by a protester as police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A man tries to calm a group of protesters as police stand in the distance in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, right, speaks as other members of his department stand watch during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The police chief in the St. Louis suburb where an officer fatally shot an unarmed teenager said Wednesday that cyber-attacks on his city's website won't sway him into releasing the officer's name. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A man wears a button remembering Michael Brown, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The police chief in the St. Louis suburb where an officer fatally shot an unarmed teenager said Wednesday that cyber-attacks on his city's website won't sway him into releasing the officer's name. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The police chief in the St. Louis suburb where an officer fatally shot an unarmed teenager said Wednesday that cyber-attacks on his city's website won't sway him into releasing the officer's name. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The police chief in the St. Louis suburb where an officer fatally shot an unarmed teenager said Wednesday that cyber-attacks on his city's website won't sway him into releasing the officer's name. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The police chief in the St. Louis suburb where an officer fatally shot an unarmed teenager said Wednesday that cyber-attacks on his city's website won't sway him into releasing the officer's name. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators raise their hands during a rally on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Phaedra Parks, left, comforts Desuirea Harris, the grandmother of Michael Brown, during a news conference Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Jennings, Mo. Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed in a confrontation with police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo, on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Michael Brown Sr., listens to speakers during a news conference outside the Old Courthouse, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. Brown's son Michael, 18, who was unarmed, was shot to death Saturday by a Ferguson police officer while walking with a friend down the center of the street. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton speaks during a news conference outside the Old Courthouse Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. Racial tensions have run high in Ferguson, Mo., where crowds have looted and burned stores, vandalized vehicles and taunted police after following the shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed black man by police. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Protester Janelle Pittman holds her 6-year-old daughter, Kat, as police in riot gear stand guard in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Michael Brown Sr., holds up a photo of himself, at right, his son, Michael Brown, top left, and a young child during a news conference Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Jennings, Mo. Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed in a confrontation with police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo, on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 13: Police Chief Thomas Jackson fields questions related to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown during a press conference on August 13, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on Saturday. Ferguson has experienced three days of violent protests since the killing. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Michael Brown Sr., holds up a photo of himself, his son, Michael Brown, and a young child during a news conference Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Jennings, Mo. Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed in a confrontation with police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo, on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Protestors confront police during an impromptu rally, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014 to protest the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by police in Ferguson, Mo. on Saturday. Brown died following a confrontation with police, according to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, who spoke at a news conference Sunday. The protesters rallied in front of the police and fire departments in Ferguson following Belmar's news conference. (AP Photo/Sid Hastings)
Police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A small group of protesters block traffic by sitting in the street before police in riot gear arrived in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. On Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
President Barack Obama speaks about the situations in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo., Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Edgartown, Mass., during his family vacation on the island of Martha's Vineyard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the situations in Iraq and in Ferguson, Mo., Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Edgartown, Mass., during his family vacation on the island of Martha's Vineyard. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama faces reporters, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Edgartown, Mass., where he spoke about developments in Iraq and the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. Obama is vacationing on the island. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators take part in a rally on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators take part in a rally on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 15: Demonstrators wearing Guy Fawkes masks, raise their hands during a rally on West Florissant Avenue to protest the shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15, 2014. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri on August 09, 2014. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, center, stands with the parents of Michael Brown, Lesley McSpadden, right, and Michael Brown Sr., left, during a news conference outside the Old Courthouse Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. Brown Jr., 18, who was unarmed, was shot to death Saturday by a Ferguson police officer while walking with a friend down the center of the street. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, is surrounded by supporters as Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton speaks during a news conference outside the Old Courthouse Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. Michael Brown Jr., 18, who was unarmed, was shot to death Saturday by a Ferguson police officer while walking with a friend down the center of the street. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaks during news conference Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in St. Louis. Nixon has announced the Missouri State Highway Patrol will take over the supervision of security in the St. Louis suburb that's been the scene of violent protests since a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, the governor announced Wednesday.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, center, prays during a meeting of clergy and community members held to discuss law enforcement's response to demonstrations over the killing of Michael Brown, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Florissant, Mo. Nixon says "operational shifts" are ahead for law enforcement in the St. Louis suburb where a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol speaks during a news conference as Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, left, listens during news conference Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in St. Louis. Nixon has announced the Missouri State Highway Patrol, led by Capt. Johnson, will take over the supervision of security in the St. Louis suburb that's been the scene of violent protests since a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, the governor announced Wednesday.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 04: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder leaves a news conference after announcing the Justice Department will launch a 'patterns and practice' investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department at the department's headquarters September 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. Holder announced a federal civil rights investigation of the Furguson, Missouri, police department after white officer Darren Wilson from shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michale Brown last month. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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By ERIC TUCKER

WASHINGTON (AP) - Broadening its push to improve police relations with minorities, the Justice Department has enlisted a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement in five American cities and recommend strategies to address the problem nationally, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday.

The police shooting last month of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri underscored the need for the long-planned initiative, Holder said in an interview with The Associated Press.

He said the three-year project could be a "silver lining" if it helps ease racial tensions and "pockets of distrust that show up between law enforcement and the communities that they serve."

"What I saw in Ferguson confirmed for me that the need for such an effort was pretty clear," Holder said.

The five cities have not yet been selected, but the researchers say they are bringing a holistic approach that combines training of police officers on issues of racial bias, data analysis and interviews with community residents. They will be reviewing police behavior in the cities and relationships between law enforcement and the neighborhoods. The hope is to create a model that could be broadly applied in other cities.

Though the project was in the works before Ferguson, the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson spotlighted longstanding concerns about diversity in policing. The Ferguson police force is overwhelmingly white even though the suburban St. Louis city is roughly 70 percent black. A 2013 report by the Missouri attorney general's office found that Ferguson police stopped and arrested black drivers nearly twice as often as white motorists, but were less likely to find contraband among the black drivers.

Holder, who visited Ferguson last month to meet with Brown's parents, community members and with investigators, said he was struck by the number of complaints he heard about traffic stops and the concerns from minorities about being treated unfairly during encounters with the police.

"The reality is that it certainly had a negative impact on people's view of the effectiveness and fairness of the police department," Holder said.

The Justice Department this month announced a civil rights investigation into the Ferguson police force. In the past five years, the department has launched about 20 similarly broad probes of police departments that looked at problems including use-of-force and racial bias. Holder has spoken repeatedly of his concerns of the disparate treatment of minorities by some in law enforcement, recently sharing personal anecdotes of a "humiliating" encounter with police.

In April, months after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the department announced that it was soliciting bids for a $4.75 million racial bias project that would collect data on stops, searches and arrests. On Thursday, the department will announce that it will provide grants to a team of researchers from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, Yale University, UCLA and the Urban Institute.

"It represents, I think, an attempt for this administration to partner with researchers who are tired of tragedy being followed by embarrassment," said Phillip Atiba Goff, a researcher and UCLA professor who specializes in racial discrimination and bias.

David Kennedy, another team member and director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay, called the project a "historic and tremendously exciting enterprise."

In their writings, the researchers have stressed the importance of a forum for minority communities to air grievances about law enforcement. Their work seeks to identify and curb hidden racial biases that can inform a police officer's decision about whom to consider a likely suspect and when to fire a weapon, and they also argue communities are far likely to respect their police departments if they view their authority as legitimate.

The researchers have been invited to apply those principles to cities including Chicago, where they developed a program on race and reconciliation that has trained thousands of officers.

"Studies show that if people think that they are treated fairly by the police, that matters almost more than what the result is," Holder said. "If you get stopped for a traffic stop and feel that you are treated courteously and fairly, you are much more likely to accept the fact that you got a speeding ticket."

Separate from the investigation into the entire Ferguson police force, both the FBI and local authorities are investigating the circumstances of the shooting for potential criminal charges. Holder said the FBI-led investigation into the shooting was moving along with good cooperation from the community.

"We would not be well served as a nation to have this drag out," Holder said of the investigation. "I would hope that the local investigation would be done thoroughly, would be done expeditiously in the same way that I'm insisting that this federal probe be done thoroughly and expeditiously."

"There's a great deal of anticipation, and I'd say apprehension, on the part of the people in Ferguson, and many people in this nation, about how this is going to be resolved," he added.

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