Ferguson hires black police commander from Arizona as new interim police chief
New Ferguson interim police chief Andre Anderson (KMOV.com/Screenshot)

Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday named a black police commander from Arizona as its new interim chief to lead a police department that was accused by the U.S. Justice Department of widespread racial bias in its policing.

Andre Anderson, 50, a commander in the Glendale, Arizona, police department, will be the second person to hold the interim role in the St. Louis suburb since Chief Thomas Jackson resigned in March days after the release of the federal report.

Anderson is taking a six-month leave of absence from the Glendale force and will begin working as interim Ferguson police chief on Thursday, Ferguson officials said.

He will be leading a predominantly white police force in the majority African-American city where last Aug. 9 a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, which set off sometimes violent protests in Ferguson.

Anderson said at a news conference one of his first steps will be to cultivate relationships and develop policing in conjunction with Justice Department recommendations "that we know and hope will reshape our direction here in the city of Ferguson."

He said he also would seek help from the community. "We cannot do this without you," he said.

Ferguson's interim city manager, Ed Beasley, who began work a month ago, also came from Glendale. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said the discussions about hiring Anderson had been going on for several weeks.