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Ferguson police chief quits after racism report: U.S. media

The Justice Department last Wednesday said it lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute Wilson on federal civil rights charges

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The police chief in Ferguson, Missouri resigned Wednesday after a scathing U.S. Justice Department report following the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by one of his officers, U.S. media reported.

Thomas Jackson is the latest prominent official in the St. Louis suburb to stand down, seven months after Brown was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson, igniting angry protests and a national debate about race and law enforcement.

“It is with profound sadness that I am announcing I am stepping down from my position of chief of police,” wrote Jackson in his letter of resignation, cited by the St Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this great city and to serve with all of you.”

His resignation will be effective March 19.

The Justice Department last Wednesday said it lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute Wilson on federal civil rights charges over the August 9 death of 18-year-old Brown after an altercation on a quiet residential street.

But it faulted Ferguson’s police and municipal court for racial bias in targeting its African-American majority as a means to fund city hall.

Jackson is the sixth Ferguson official to resign. Others have included its municipal court judge and, on Tuesday, its city manager.

Still in office is Ferguson Mayor James Knowles, who has promised root-and-branch reforms in the community of 21,000, in which two in three residents is African American.

Wilson, no longer with the overwhelmingly white Ferguson police force, said he shot Brown after the youth - a suspect in a corner-store shoplifting - tried to grab hold of his firearm.

Others insist that Brown had put his hands up in a gesture of surrender when Wilson opened fire.

A grand jury in November chose not to indict Wilson on murder or manslaughter charges, reigniting protests that sometimes turned violent.