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Officials: Feds planning to launch probe of Ferguson police department

Darren Wilson

(CNN) — The U.S. Justice Department is planning to take a top-to-bottom look at the Ferguson, Missouri, police department — which has come under fire for its past practices in the uproar over the shooting of Michael Brown — officials told CNN.

A Missouri official and a federal official told CNN on Wednesday that the civil rights division of the Justice Department is preparing to launch a new investigation into police in the St. Louis suburb.

The review will examine previous incidents and complaints involving police, as well as its training, to determine how the department operates and whether it meets federal standards, according to the Missouri official.

Justice Department representatives met with Ferguson officials in Missouri and informed them of the intent to launch the preliminary probe, said the Missouri official, who had direct knowledge of the meeting.

It is distinct from the Justice Department’s previously announced civil rights probe that is specific to the August 9 shooting of Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white.

That shooting and the fact authorities didn’t immediately, and still haven’t, charged Wilson spurred emotional and, at times, violent protests on the streets of Ferguson.

Dozens were arrested over those tense few weeks, which were sometimes marred by looting and clashes between protesters and law enforcement.