Just one day after the New York Times reported the Department of Justice was set to fault the Ferguson, Mo. police department for making racially biased traffic stops and arrests, an official report is confirming that officers routinely violated the constitutional rights of the city’s black residents.
The Justice Department report accuses the officers of making unjust traffic stops and using excessive force during arrests. The report comes after a months-long investigation sparked by the shooting death of Black teenager Michael Brown Jr. at the hands of Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer.
Shockingly, the report says the discrimination was perpetuated due to the racial stereotypes held by city officials. In one incident, officials distributed racially-tinged jokes on their city email accounts, including a jab at President Barack Obama and a joke suggesting abortion in the black community would reduce crime. According to the Washington Post, one 2008 email stated that the president couldn’t hold that office for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years?”
The report does not identify who wrote the scathing email or whom the email was sent to.
Following the explosive discovery, the city of Ferguson — a largely white body of officials serving a mostly black population — will be forced to negotiate a settlement with the Justice Department, or risk facing a lawsuit on civil rights charges, the New York Times reports.
In compiling the report, federal investigators conducted hundreds of interviews, reviewed 35,000 pages of police records and analyzed race data compiled for every police stop. They concluded that, over the past two years, African-Americans — who make up about two-thirds of the city’s population — accounted for 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of citations, 93 percent of arrests and 88 percent of cases in which the police used force.
Black motorists were twice as likely as whites to be searched but were less likely to be found in possession of contraband such as drugs or guns.
About 95 percent of those jailed for more than two days between April and September 2014 were black, lending support to the claim that officials relied on the fines from ticketing and arresting African-Americans to balance the city’s budget.
The full report is expected to be released Wednesday.
SOURCE: NY Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty