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Ferguson Police Department tactics will be focus of federal investigation

Ferguson gas masks

(CNN) — The U.S. Justice Department is getting ready to launch an investigation into the practices and training of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department, a Missouri official and a federal official told CNN.

The expected civil investigation comes on heels of criticism of Ferguson police in the wake of one of its officers shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, earlier this summer. That shooting and public anger over the fact the police officer who shot and killed Brown was not prosecuted spurred widespread protests in the eastern Missouri city, some of which included clashes between protesters and law enforcement.

Justice Department representatives met with Ferguson officials Wednesday in Missouri and informed them of the intent to launch a the preliminary probe into the city’s police department, according to the Missouri official, who had direct knowledge of the meeting.

The Justice Department already has launched a civil rights investigation specific to the August 9 shooting. Meanwhile, a St. Louis County grand jury is hearing evidence that could possibly lead to charges against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Brown.

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