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Ferguson Panel: Police Reforms Needed


FILE - Police wear gas masks as they attempt to disperse a crowd that gathered after a shooting incident in St. Louis, Missouri August 19, 2015.

FILE - Police wear gas masks as they attempt to disperse a crowd that gathered after a shooting incident in St. Louis, Missouri August 19, 2015.

A reform panel established in the wake of a black teen's shooting death by a white police officer last year in Missouri on Monday released the results of its 10-month review into racially inequalities the state faces.

Among the 189 "calls to action" is the recommendation to consolidate the police agencies and courts in and around St. Louis, including Ferguson, where Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed Michael Brown during an August 2014 confrontation. It also suggests a monitoring system for the use of force by police agencies.

The commission scrutinized the problems highlighted by Brown's death, as well as by the public outcry that followed.

A federal investigation found systemic discrimination by the Ferguson police force, and the grand jury decision not to indict Wilson sparked massive protests in the area and around the United States. Protesters and journalists were arrested during several days of intense clashes in the St. Louis suburb.

Included among the suggestions is a statewide plan to deal with mass demonstrations while protecting the lives of protestors and the upholding the media's right to cover events without fear of arrest.

"The law says all citizens are equal," the commission states early in the report, "but the data says not everyone in treated that way."

Tasked by Governor Jay Nixon in October 2014, the Ferguson Commission published the nearly 200-page report several days ahead of its September 15 deadline.

Brown's death, and the violence between police and demonstrators that followed, gave rise to the Black Lives Matter campaign. Activists have used the slogan and the movement to raise awareness over institutional and systemic racism.

While the 16-member commission does not have the authority to enact the policy changes it suggests, Governor Jay Nixon said last year that the group has the “full authority" of his office behind it.

The panel included members from the business, education, religious, legal, health, police and non-profit sectors.

Nixon is expected to speak about the report at a news conference Monday afternoon.

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