St. Louis Alderman Antonio French Sounds Off On DOJ Report: Ferguson Police Chief 'Needs To Go'

03/04/2015 12:59 pm ET

The recent Department Of Justice report accusing Ferguson police officers of racially biased patrolling "did not surprise" St. Louis Alderman Antonio French.

"[It] really just confirms what many of us already knew and what has been experience by many African Americans here in the St.Louis region for quite some time," he told HuffPost Live in on Wednesday. "Some of the specific details were shocking, [but] there's a culture that's been allowed to fester in Ferguson and one that's really been experienced by African Americans for years and boiled over last year."

The formal report, released today, revealed that 90% of all Ferguson arrests and 88% of the Ferguson police force has been directed towards African Americans. It also disclosed a number of racially charged e-mail correspondences between officials and police officers, which French is hoping will expedite the long-overdue departure of the Ferguson Police Chief.

"My recommendation is that immediately there needs to be some level of accountability," he said. "For the last seven months I've been calling for the resignation of the Chief of the Ferguson Police department and I think some of the specific details outlined in this Department of Justice report really make it impossible for him to stay there. When you have the culture that exists with these racist emails... the stats alone suggest he needs to go."

French thinks Ferguson may opt to dissolve their police department and hand over the reigns to St. Louis County's police force, "a larger, more professional department that we can hold to a higher standard."

But ultimately the choices come down to the "Ferguson City Council and Manager," according to the Alderman, who represents the 21st Ward.

"[They need] to take immediate action and response to this report and then, in the months to come, I think the people of Ferguson are really going to have to say what kind of community they want to have and what kind of policing they want to have."

Watch more from Antonio French's conversation with HuffPost Live in the clip above.

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