Ferguson’s ugly, racist emails released

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A woman participates in a candlelight memorial vigil near the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri on March 12, 2015. The troubled US community of Ferguson, Missouri -- scene of months of protests and racial tension -- was on a knife edge again after two police officers were shot. (Photo: Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The racist and offensive emails that resulted in three Ferguson, Missouri, city employees either resigning or being fired have been released.

The exchanges between the city’s top court clerk and two police officers were discovered during a U.S. Justice Department investigation of racial prejudice in the city’s police and judicial system.

The emails — which make offensive references to President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama as well as Muslims and minorities — were obtained by the Washington Post on Thursday after a public records request. CNN reviewed them Friday.

Police Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd resigned early last month after the emails were discovered as part of the evidence in the Justice Department’s scathing Ferguson report.

The city’s top court clerk, Mary Ann Twitty, was fired in connection with the emails, officials said.

One email showed Ronald Reagan, an actor before becoming President, feeding a chimp in the 1951 comedy “Bedtime for Bonzo,” with the caption: “Rare photo of Ronald Reagan babysitting Barack Obama in 1962.”

Another showed a photo of bare-chested dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion!”

A June 2011 email described a man trying to put his dogs on welfare because the canines were “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no … clue who their Daddies are.”

Some critics have called for the department to be disbanded.

Last month, embattled Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned one week after the scathing Justice Department report slammed his department.

Jackson will receive a severance payment and health insurance for one year, city officials said.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered the Ferguson police investigation after a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown last summer, setting off months of sometimes violent street protests in the town outside St. Louis.

The DOJ declined to bring charges against Wilson, who has since left the force. No state charges were filed.

In a separate report, the Justice Department described what it said was a “pattern and practice” of discrimination against African-Americans by the Ferguson police and municipal courts. That discrimination included racist emails. Ferguson is a town of 21,000 that is 67% African-American.

Among the findings in the report:

From 2012 to 2014, 85% of people subject to vehicle stops by Ferguson police were African-American, 90% of those who received citations were blac and 93% of people arrested were black.

In 88% of the cases in which Ferguson police officers reported using force, it was against African-Americans. From 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.

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