Justice Dept won't investigate Fayetteville PD

February 2, 2012 3:42:24 PM PST
The City of Fayetteville said Thursday that it's received a letter from the Department of Justice declining the city's invitation to investigate allegations that police officers target African Americans for searches during traffic stops.

Earlier this month, Fayetteville's city council voted to stop so-called consent searches for four months while outside consultants review traffic stops, police searches, and consider citizen input on any changes.

In a consent search, police can ask drivers for permission to search a vehicle based on nothing more than a hunch.

The Fayetteville Police Department first drew criticism late last year when it was revealed statistics show 75 percent of all drivers stopped and searched are African American. Police Chief Tom Bergamine - who is retiring June 30 - has denied his officers are involved in racial profiling - instead saying most of the stops were in high population and high crime areas.

The city said Thursday it has contacted the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program of the DOJ and requested their technical assistance and training. It's also working with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) as they conduct their assessment of the Fayetteville Police Department.

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