Eric Holder: Justice Dept. 'Prepared' to Dismantle Ferguson Police Dept. If 'Necessary'

Attorney general says DOJ will use all tools for Ferguson Police reforms.

ByABC News
March 6, 2015, 7:01 PM

— -- Attorney General Eric Holder said the Department of Justice could go as far as dismantling the Ferguson Police Department to ensure change after the DOJ report that found it discriminated against blacks in the Missouri city.

“We are prepared to use all the powers that we have, all the power that we have to ensure that the situation changes there and that means everything from working with them to you know coming up with an entirely new structure,” Holder told reporters on the tarmac of Andrews Air Force Base today.

Asked if that includes dismantling the police department, Holder said, “If that's what's necessary, we're prepared to do that."

Earlier in the day, Ferguson’s mayor announced the city’s court clerk was fired and two police officers resigned after the three allegedly sent vulgar and racist e-mails. The changes came two days after the DOJ report found Ferguson police systematically discriminated against blacks.

Speaking in South Carolina today, President Obama defended the Justice Department’s findings, saying its investigation into racial bias by the department was “very clear.”

“What we saw was that Ferguson police department in conjunction with municipality saw traffic stops, arrests, and tickets as revenue generators as opposed to serving,” the president said at a town hall at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. The president added the overwhelmingly white force was “systematically” biased, placing minorities under its care into an “oppressive and abusive situation.”

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced it would not pursue charges against Officer Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer responsible for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

ABC News' Chris Good and Matt Larotonda contributed to this report.