A black man was sworn in as the new permanent police chief of Ferguson, Missouri. The U.S. Department of Justice asked him to transform the same department that caused the death of Michael Brown in 2014. He wanted to retire at 51 and become a “beach bum”.
Delrish Moss, who was a spokesman for the Miami Police Department, was planning to retire from his police career and enjoy at a beach life. However, a Ferguson Department in need of diversification, chose him among 54 police officers to be the new chief.
His sworn in occurs two weeks after a federal judge accepted the St. Louis County town’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. It seeks to face racial prejudice in the criminal justice system, said reporters at The Associated Press (AP).
The new Ferguson police chief worked for 32 years as a police officer in Miami, where he grew up. He admitted he was planning to retire in September, and spend some time on the beach. After so many years of responsibilities, he wanted to be “a beach bum”, he said in an interview.
“But there was something about Ferguson that sort of harkened back to the days in Miami when I was a kid living in a riot-torn neighborhood and when I was a young police officer dealing with civil unrest. There was something that called to me and said, ‘You have to get up.” Mos said, as reported by AP.
Since 2014, Ferguson has been on the spotlight of the international activist movement Black Life Matters. That year, Police Officer Darren Wilson killed an 18-year-old unarmed boy. He claimed that the black boy of 300 pounds was walking toward him in a threatening way, said AP.
Wilson quit in November 2014, after the U.S. Department of Justice cleared him of wrongdoing. However, the death of Michael Brown caused months of protests across the United States. Approximately two thirds of all Ferguson’s residents are black, which is equivalent to 20,000 people.
However, most of the personnel at the department are white. In March last year, the Justice Department accused the Ferguson police for racial discrimination. Days later, the manager of the city, the municipal judge and Police Chief Tom Jackson resigned, said AP.
Delrish Moss may be the right chief for Ferguson
New Police Chief Delrish Moss has worked in several departments, including homicide. In 2011, he was ascended to major, after nearly 2 decades of working as a police information officer.
Ferguson City Manager De’Carlon Seewood said that Moss knows how to communicate with citizens and the press. He has already proposed to create a mentoring program called Police Athletic League to enhance positive interaction among the youth and police officers, as reported by the New York Times.
“I took this job for a specific reason. I have said it time and again: I was mistreated by police officers. I saw the way police officers acted in my community. I was determined to be a better service provider than I had gotten.” Moss said in an interview to the New York Times.
Source: The Associated Press