Is anyone really surprised that the Department of Justice’s investigation into the Ferguson Police Department is outing more than one racist? One of the department’s officials has been fired, and two have been placed on administrative leave following the Department of Justice’s investigation.
Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who knowingly allowed witnesses to lie to the Grand Jury responsible for deciding if Officer Darren Wilson would be charged in the murder of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown and instructed jurors to base their decision on a law ruled unconstitutional almost 30 years ago, said that the DOJ report confirms that he did the right thing.
Of course, one must wonder about Mcculloch’s definition of “right.” The same report the prosecutor says “vindicates” him unveiled numerous racist e-mails sent by employees of a department that has been fighting off allegations of racism long before Michael Brown stopped breathing.
On Wednesday, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles announced that one official has been terminated, and two others have been granted a paid vacation pending an investigation because of bigoted e-mails sent by the officials.
The e-mails described in the DOJ report often included stereotypes of racial minorities as criminals, including one that “joked about an abortion by an African-American woman being a means of crime control.”
Several of the emails cited by the DOJ mocked President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama by using racially offensive language and imagery. One message, sent in April 2011, compared Obama to a chimpanzee. Another, sent in October 2011, included a photo apparently taken in Africa that showed a group of bare-chested women dancing with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”
The report also revealed that the city routinely violates the constitutional rights of African-American residents.
“This type of behavior will not be tolerated in the Ferguson Police Department or any other department,” Knowles said just hours after Attorney General Eric Holder decried the department’s “highly toxic environment” of racism and misconduct. . “We must do better not only as a city, but also as a state and country,” Knowles said.
“Many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue,” the DOJ report said, among other scathing indictments of the Ferguson PD.
The DOJ says that Ferguson’s Municipal court is interested not in “administering justice or protecting the rights of the accused,” but in maximizing the amount of money that can be squeezed from the populace. The police force, according to the report, operates “as a collection agency.”
Vice notes that:
Most of that money came from Ferguson’s largely disadvantaged African American residents, with city officials reportedly sometimes helping their white friends and colleagues get tickets dismissed.
According to figures cited by the DOJ, from 2012 to 2014, 85 percent of vehicle stops, 90 percent of citations, and 93 percent of arrests made by Ferguson police officers involved African Americans, despite the fact that the city is only 67 percent black.
“These disparities are also present in FPD’s use of force,” the DOJ wrote. “Nearly 90 percent 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.”
The report notes that, until Wednesday, not a single employee was ever disciplined for sharing or sending the e-mails. “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,” the DOJ wrote. “Instead, the emails were usually forwarded along to others.”
Read the report for yourself, below: