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Ferguson police chief resigns

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The police chief in Ferguson, Mo., announced his resignation on Wednesday, a week after a blistering report from the Department of Justice said his department had engaged in systemic discrimination against black residents.

“It is with profound sadness that I am announcing I am stepping down from my position as chief of police for the city of Ferguson, Missouri,” Tom Jackson said in a resignation letter first published by the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this great city and to serve with all of you.”

{mosads}At a news conference Wednesday, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said Jackson would receive a year’s salary as severance pay and have health insurance coverage for another year.

The mayor called Jackson an “honorable man” and said the final decision for the chief to leave the city came after the release of the Justice Department report. The resignation was a “mutual” decision by the city and the chief, he said.

“The city has been committed to and will continue to be committed to addressing each item laid out in the report,” Knowles said.

The resignation, effective March 19, is the latest fallout from what Attorney General Eric Holder called a “searing” report that found the police and courts in Ferguson regularly violated the constitutional rights of black citizens.

Investigators found that the police disproportionately used force on, stopped, arrested and cited black residents. They also found emails containing racist jokes that had been sent by police and court officials without any consequences.

The report painted the court system as focused on generating revenue for the city by imposing unfair fines on residents and then fining them further if they were unable to pay.

Two police officers resigned after the emails containing the jokes were made public, and a court clerk was fired for the messages.

A municipal court judge and the city manager both resigned earlier this week.

The investigation was launched after an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. The DOJ brought no charges against Wilson.

Jackson was also criticized in the wake of the Brown shooting, with many saying his department was not doing enough to investigate one of their own for the shooting.

Updated at 7:23 p.m.

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