Justice report finds systematic discrimination against African Americans in Ferguson

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Credit: Lawrence Bryant/St. Louis American Powerful images from the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the Mike Brown verdict.

Credit: Lawrence Bryant/St. Louis American Powerful images from the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the Mike Brown verdict.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A Justice Department civil rights investigation has concluded that the Ferguson Police Department and the city’s municipal court engaged in a “pattern and practice” of discrimination against African Americans, targeting them disproportionately for traffic stops, use of force, and jail sentences, according to a U.S. law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

The probe is the result of an investigation ordered by Attorney General Eric Holder after the police shooting that killed Michael Brown last summer.

Among the findings, reviewed by CNN: from 2012 to 2014, 85% of people subject to vehicle stops by Ferguson police were African American; 90% of those who received citations were black; and 93% of people arrested were black. This while 67% of the Ferguson population is black.

In 88% of the cases in which police the Ferguson police reported using force, it was against African Americans. During the period 2012-2014 black drivers were twice as likely as white drivers to be searched during traffic stops, but 26% less likely to be found in possession of contraband.

Blacks were disproportionately more likely to be cited for minor infractions: 95% of tickets for “manner of walking in roadway,” essentially jaywalking, were against African Americans. Also, 94% of all “failure to comply” charges were filed against black people.

The findings in the investigation are expected to be made public as soon as Wednesday, and the Justice Department is expected to pursue a court-supervised consent decree that requires the city of Ferguson to make changes to its police and courts.

According to the findings, reviewed by CNN, African Americans were 68% less likely to have their cases dismissed by a Ferguson municipal judge, and were overwhelmingly more likely to be arrested during traffic stops solely for an outstanding warrant by the Ferguson courts.

The investigators found evidence of racist jokes being sent around by Ferguson police and court officials. One November 2008 email read in part that President Barack Obama wouldn’t likely be President for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”

Another jokes that made the rounds on Ferguson government email in May 2011 said: “An African American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $3000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said: ‘Crimestoppers.'”

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9 comments

  • "peety"

    a racist off duty is a racist on duty. Fire them all. This would be the second time for Office Wilson, his previous job being terminated for racism.

  • Brad

    Nonsense and more nonesense all created by the liberals who just dream of some great communist revolution. The fact is the majority of the city are black and the majority of people who commit crimes are black people. That’s not racist. That’s statistics, but liberals just want to sound like they are the champion for minorities, so they push this nonsense. Liberals would rather sugar coat everything and give fish to the hungry instead of teaching the hungry how to fish. Liberals are the source of everything wrong in society. They are garbage and run everything into the ground. Look at Detroit. Look at every other place they control. Seattle is well on its way. They won’t stop until it’s unlivable then they will pack up and move to country (Houston or Dallas) and try it all over again.

    • Ralph

      You’re funny! What country do you live in? I am afraid you have everything backwards. Detroit went down because Americans bought imported cars that they liked better. The last Republican administration bankrupted the USA.

    • John Fuller

      That’s just a cop out… Are you happy now that you’ve unleashed your own racist views? Go to Starbucks and get a cup of burnt coffee already!

  • AndyBlue

    Does it matter?? The Seattle police department defrauded the city for a system of accountability on top of all the crimes Ferguson cops have been committing and the last statement by the federal investigators was “We never said we would prosecute any officers.” It will play out the exact same way there. They will get away with it.

    Seattle is paying dearly when we can’t even afford the upkeep of our parks. The Seattle police department all received retroactive raise going back to 2011. All budgets have been hit in the aftermath. Seattle is paying dearly when we can’t even afford the upkeep of our parks.

    Remember…..They Defrauded Us!. Now they are getting new vehicles, new colors, new uniforms, a new logo and new more powerful weapons. Their unions are also working to make it easier to listen in on your cell phones in Olympia. They have already barred the citizens from drug testing these abusive cops across the state of Washington.

    They all got away with it. We are talking about real crimes here against American citizens.

    Expect the same future for Ferguson, No one will be held accountable.

    The city council who is the top tier of oversight will get away with not just not doing their job but aiding the police departments crimes against the city.

    All command staff within the police department will just play musical chairs to give the impression of change. Do you really think not having accountability went right over their heads?

    Their unions are also working to make it easier to listen in on your cell phones in Olympia. They have already barred the citizens from drug testing these abusive cops across the state of Washington. They have made it legal for a cop to violate all training, run up to your son or daughter, shoot them through the face and three times in the side and all they have to do is say “I felt threatened”

    Ferguson is just like Seattle…..A city that continues to be held hostage by its police department and their union. And the citizens will continue to pay dearly for it.

    • John Fuller

      Sad but true… What you’re saying makes perfect sense. A large number of people that frequent this website are clearly racist and regardless of the heinous crimes that cops commit against black people, they still use every opportunity to spout their own hateful views. A large number of the people in the Pacific Northwest are racist and HATE black people. Always have, always will… I wasn’t raised that way and I am not a liberal, nor am I a conservative. There are black people that are jerks just as there are white people that are jerks.