A Justice Department investigation has found that the Ferguson Police Department and the city’s municipal court engaged in a “pattern and practice” of discrimination against African-Americans.
The findings of the report are expected to be made available to the public by Wednesday, and the Justice Department is expected to seek a court-supervised consent decree requiring the city to make changes to its court system and police. In February, the Justice Department said it was preparing to file a lawsuit against the Ferguson police department over the pattern of racial discrimination.
According to the report, African-Americans were targeted disproportionately for jail sentences, use of force and traffic stops. The probe into the police department was ordered by Attorney General Eric Holder in response to the police shooting of Michael Brown last year.
Justice Department officials conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed over 35,000 pages of Ferguson police records and other documents to create the report, according to the Washington Post.
Between 2012 and 2014, 85% of people subjected to traffic stops by Ferguson police were African American. 90% of those who received a citation were black, and 93% of people arrested by the police were black, according to a CNN review of the report. The population of Ferguson is only 67% black.
88% of the reported uses of force were against African-Americans. The report also found that black drivers were twice as likely to be searched during traffic stops than white drivers, but 26% less likely to be found in possession of contraband.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Benjamin Crump” author_title=”Attorney for the Brown family”]
If the report of the Department of Justice findings are accurate, then it will confirm what Michael Brown’s family has believed all along, and that is that the tragic killing of their unarmed teenage son was part of a systemic pattern of policing of African American citizens in Ferguson.
Similar statistics were found in terms of minor infractions of the law. 95% of jaywalking tickets were against black people, as well as 94% of “failure to comply” charges.
Investigators also found disturbing evidence of racist jokes sent between Ferguson court officials and police, including a November 2008 email saying that President Obama would not be president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
In 2011, a Ferguson government email contained the following: “An African American woman in New Orleans was admitted to the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $3,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said: ‘Crimestoppers.'”