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Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson resigns, following city manager John Shaw

Posted at 3:30 PM, Mar 11, 2015

Thomas Jackson, the police chief of Ferguson, Missouri, has resigned.

In a Wednesday press conference, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said he hoped the city will have a police department that exhibits a high level of professionalism.

"The City of Ferguson looks to become an example of how a community can move forward in the face of adversity," Knowles said.

The resignation follows a scathing Department of Justice investigation that showed rampant racism in the Ferguson Police Department. Ferguson City Manager John Shaw resigned Tuesday.

Knowles has rebuffed calls that he also resign.

"I realize there are some people who want [my] head," Knowles said. "Someone has to be here to run the show."

Jackson's resignation was a mutual decision, Knowles said. Jackson and Shaw will each receive one year of severance pay.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this great city and to serve with all of you. I will continue to assist the city in anyway I can in my capacity as private citizen," Jackson said in a statement.

The federal investigation began after the police shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. Ferguson was rocked by several nights of protests and arson after a grand jury chose not to indict Wilson in the death of Brown.

Part of the report found that city officials made racist jokes about black people on official email accounts, The New York Times reports. Black people were also found to be disproportionately searched and imprisoned.

Several other city officials resigned or were fired following the report, including a municipal judge, court clerk and two police officers in addition to the city manager and police chief. The Missouri Supreme Court announced Monday that a state judge would handle local court cases in Ferguson.

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Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk.