It’s no secret that slavery didn’t end after the Civil War and instead evolved into something known as Slave Codes.
The laws were designed to maintain the same system of White supremacy that occurred under slavery. States and cities used the law to arrest mostly Black men for vagrancy, among other minor infractions, and put them to work picking cotton, farming, and building the nation’s infrastructure through a convict leasing system.
The laws allegedly went out the door after World War II, but the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday released a damning report that revealed a modern-day version of the codes operating in Ferguson, Mo.
The report comes in the aftermath of angry and ongoing protests that erupted after 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teen, was shot and killed last summer by White Ferguson officer Darren Wilson. Wilson was cleared in the death Wednesday by the Department of Justice. But the federal agency found a widespread pattern of racial bias and oppression in city government that created a toxic environment between Blacks and police that led to the fatal confrontation.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:
The 102-page report on the patterns and practices of the Ferguson Police Department released on Wednesday, describes an out-of-control police department whose officers target African-Americans, stop and search people without reasonable suspicion, arrest people without probable cause, abuse their authority to quash protests, routinely ignore civil rights and use excessive force by unnecessarily using dogs, batons and Tasers.
It describes a city government that uses its police and courts as an ATM, tolerating a culture of police brutality while pressuring the police chief and court officials to increase traffic enforcement and fees without regard to public safety.
It exposes a court run by the police department that routinely violates due process and intentionally inflicts pain on the most vulnerable residents and whose supervisors circulated racially insensitive emails, one of which in 2011 depicted President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee.
To read more, head over to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
SOURCE: St Louis Post-Dispatch, “Slavery By Another Name” | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty