The Justice Department reports that its investigation into law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo., found that the police and courts meted out illegal and unduly harsh treatment, particularly to black people. One of the reports released Wednesday, "Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department," says the mistreatment is due to discrimination, and a primary focus on maximizing city revenue through citations, not to keeping the peace.The emails are particularly horrendous.
Black people are two-thirds of Ferguson's population, but from 2012 to 2014, they accounted for 85 percent of police traffic stops, 90 percent of citations issued, and 93 percent of arrests. The Municipal Court also treats blacks more harshly, according to the Justice Department's findings.
The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans, and there is evidence that this is due in part to intentional discrimination on the basis of race.
African Americans are more than twice as likely as white drivers to be searched during vehicle stops even after controlling for non-race based variables ... but are found in possession of contraband 26% less often than white drivers, suggesting officers are impermissibly considering race as a factor when determining whether to search. African Americans are more likely to be cited and arrested following a stop regardless of why the stop was initiated ... FPD appears to bring certain offenses almost exclusively against African Americans. For example, from 2011 to 2013, African Americans accounted for 95% of Manner of Walking in Roadway charges, and 94% of all Failure to Comply charges.
Nearly 90% of documented force used by FPD officers was used against African Americans. In every canine bite incident for which racial information is available, the person bitten was African American.Our investigation has revealed that these disparities occur, at least in part, because of unlawful bias against and stereotypes about African Americans. We have found substantial evidence of racial bias among police and court staff in Ferguson. For example, we discovered emails circulated by police supervisors and court staff that stereotype racial minorities as criminals, including one email that joked about an abortion by an African-American woman being a means of crime control.
The content of these communications is unequivocally derogatory, dehumanizing, and demonstrative of impermissible bias.
Of course, Eric Holder being Eric Holder, on the same day this damning report was released, the DoJ quietly disappeared the case against the officer accused of gunning down Michael Brown last summer.A November 2008 email stated that President Barack Obama would not be President for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years” … An April 2011 email depicted President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee. A May 2011 email stated: “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers …’ An October 2011 email included a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”Our investigation has not revealed any indication that any officer or court clerk engaged in these communications was ever disciplined. Nor did we see a single instance in which a police or court recipient of such an email asked that the sender refrain from sending such emails, or any indication that these emails were reported as inappropriate. Instead, the emails were usually forwarded along to others.
So the Ferguson PD (really, the entire city apparently) was a hot bed of racism run amok, except just not in the case that put the city and its pd on the international map. Makes sense. I guess.
Meanwhile, three unarmed black men have been shot and killed by police since the Ferguson report was released just five days ago.
CHAMBLEE, Ga. — Witnesses to the fatal police shooting of an African-American man gave differing accounts Tuesday. But they all ended with a similar question: Why was it necessary to shoot Anthony Hill, a 27-year-old Air Force veteran who was naked and unarmed?The monstrosity that is racism in our society continues to play out daily right before our eyes. From the passive-aggressive vitriol and disrespect heaped at the president and his family, to the shootings of these unarmed men, to more stupid acts (like these fraternity boneheads) caught on video and going viral via social media...there is no doubt the concept of a "post-racial world" is simply fantasy.
The shooting is the third police killing of an unarmed or apparently unarmed black man in the last five days, following shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Madison, Wis. They have occurred as the nation considers race, policing and lethal force in the wake of the killing of another unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo., in August.
Even the Millennial Generation, much touted as being the first group to usher in a post-racial society of tolerance and good will, turns out to be way more racist than previously thought. Not as bad as the Boomers, but no better than my generation (X).
The 50th anniversary celebration of the Selma marches this past weekend was definitely a reminder of the progress made and how far we've come since the modern civil rights movement began. The president's speech is clearly one of the best he has given in years.
But the above incidents clearly remind us how far we have yet to go.