FERGUSON, Mo., Sept. 3 (UPI) --
Federal investigators are launching a probe into the practices of the Ferguson, Mo., police department in the wake of criticism of its handling of the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
Brown, 18, was shot to death by officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9 after the officer allegedly stopped the teen for walking in the street with a friend.
Some witnesses said Brown had his hands up during the incident and didn't provoke the shooting, while others said Brown attacked Wilson.
The incident sparked a heated racial debate — Brown was black and Wilson is white — that led to protests, vandalism and the governor declaring a state of emergency.
As protests ease in the eastern Missouri city, the U.S. Justice Department is preparing to investigate the police department's practices and training, officials told CNN.
A state official said Justice Department representatives met with Ferguson officials Wednesday to inform them of the planned investigation.
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