United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. announced today that the U.S. Department of Justice will launch a broad civil rights investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will conduct the investigation and follow a similar process which it uses to investigate police departments across the country.

In light of this development, the NAACP has released the following statements.

From Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO:

“We at the NAACP applaud Attorney General Eric Holder for taking this important and necessary step of launching a new investigation into the Ferguson police department. The life of an unarmed 18-year-old teenager was cut short by an armed police officer whose job was to serve and protect. The NAACP Missouri State Conference filed five federal lawsuits over the last 5 years against St. Louis County police officers, claiming excessive force. Local NAACP leaders have been working closely with federal authorities and are heartened by this decision.”

From Mary Ratliff, NAACP Missouri State Conference President:

“The Missouri State Conference strongly supports the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a civil rights investigation of the Ferguson Police Department. A comprehensive review of policing practices across the greater St. Louis metropolitan area is sorely needed.”

From Adolphus Pruitt, President of the NAACP St. Louis City Branch/Vice President NAACP MO State Conference:

“I commend the Department of Justice for launching this investigation. We hope that it brings some resolution to the number of complaints the NAACP Missouri State Conference have in front of the Justice Department about various police departments in St. Louis County.”