Justice

9 Egregious Examples Of Racism In Ferguson Uncovered By The Department Of Justice

CREDIT: AP

Today the Department of Justice announced they would not charge former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown last August. The Justice Department said that they could not prove that Wilson’s decision to shoot Brown was “objectively unreasonable.” To find that he was guilty of a civil right violation, they would have also had to prove that his actions were motivated by racial bias.

But the Department of Justice, in a separate investigation, did find voluminous evidence of systemic racial bias throughout the Ferguson Police Department and local court system. Here are the 9 most egregious examples.

An African-American man lost his federal contracting job due to trumped up charges:

For example, in the summer of 2012, a 32-year-old African-American man sat in his car cooling off after playing basketball in a Ferguson public park. An officer pulled up behind the man’s car, blocking him in, and demanded the man’s Social Security number and identification. Without any cause, the officer accused the man of being a pedophile, referring to the presence of children in the park, and ordered the man out of his car for a pat-down, although the officer had no reason to believe the man was armed. The officer also asked to search the man’s car. The man objected, citing his constitutional rights. In response, the officer arrested the man, reportedly at gunpoint, charging him with eight violations of Ferguson’s municipal code…because of these charges, he lost his job as a contractor with the federal government that he had held for years. (2)

An African-American man was arrested because his wife asked officers a question:

In June 2014, an African-American couple who had taken their children to play at the park allowed their small children to urinate in the bushes next to their parked car. An officer stopped them, threatened to cite them for allowing the children to “expose themselves,” and checked the father for warrants. When the mother asked if the officer had to detain the father in front of the children, the officer turned to the father and said, “you’re going to jail because your wife keeps running her mouth.” (27)

An African-American man was tased for 20 seconds even though he made no aggressive movements and was unarmed:

In January 2013, a patrol sergeant stopped an African-American man after he saw the man talk to an individual in a truck and then walk away. The sergeant detained the man, although he did not articulate any reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot. When the man declined to answer questions or submit to a frisk…the sergeant grabbed the man by the belt, drew his ECW, and ordered the man to comply. The man crossed his arms and objected that he had not done anything wrong. Video captured by the ECW’s built-in camera shows that the man made no aggressive movement toward the officer. The sergeant fired the ECW, applying a five-second cycle of electricity and causing the man to fall to the ground. The sergeant almost immediately applied the ECW again, which he later justified in his report by claiming that the man tried to stand up. The video makes clear, however, that the man never tried to stand—he only writhed in pain on the ground. (34)

A 14-year-old African-American girl who got into a verbal altercation with a classmate was tased by a School Resource Officer:

In one case, an SRO decided to arrest a 14-year-old African-American student at the Ferguson Middle School for Failure to Comply when the student refused to leave the classroom after getting into a trivial argument with another student. The situation escalated, resulting in the student being drive-stunned with an ECW in the classroom and the school seeking a 180-day suspension for the student. (37)

A Ferguson officer told an African-American man: “N*****, I can find something to lock you up on,” then slammed his face into a wall:

This documentary evidence of explicit racial bias is consistent with reports from community members indicating that some FPD officers use racial epithets in dealing with members of the public. We spoke with one African-American man who, in August 2014, had an argument in his apartment to which FPD officers responded, and was immediately pulled out of the apartment by force. After telling the officer, “you don’t have a reason to lock me up,” he claims the officer responded: “N*****, I can find something to lock you up on.” When the man responded, “good luck with that,” the officer slammed his face into the wall, and after the man fell to the floor, the officer said, “don’t pass out motherf****r because I’m not carrying you to my car.” (73)

Ferguson officers dismissed concerns about bias, blamed disparity on lack of “personal responsibility” among African-Americans:

Several Ferguson officials told us during our investigation that it is a lack of “personal responsibility” among African-American members of the Ferguson community that causes African Americans to experience disproportionate harm under Ferguson’s approach to law enforcement. Our investigation suggests that this explanation is at odd with the facts. (74)

A Ferguson officer called an African-American man standing outside of Wal-Mart a “stupid motherf*****,” while police lieutenant watched and did nothing:

In December 2011, for example, an African- American man alleged that as he was standing outside of Wal-Mart, an officer called him a “stupid motherf****r” and a “bastard.” According to the man, a lieutenant was on the scene and did nothing to reproach the officer, instead threatening to arrest the man. (80)

At the courthouse, a Ferguson officer mocked an African-American man as “hooked on phonics”:

In June 2011, a 60-year-old man complained that an officer verbally harassed him while he stood in line to see the judge in municipal court. According to the man, the officer repeatedly ordered him to move forward as the line advanced and, because he did not advance far enough, turned to the other court-goers and joked, “he is hooked on phonics.” (80)

Officers, court officials, and supervisors regularly exchanged blatantly racist emails:

• A November 2008 email stated that President Barack Obama would not be President for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”

• A March 2010 email mocked African Americans through speech and familial stereotypes, using a story involving child support. One line from the email read: “I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment! Month after month, year after year, all dose payments!”

• An April 2011 email depicted President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee.

• A May 2011 email stated: “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.’”

• A June 2011 email described a man seeking to obtain “welfare” for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.”

• An October 2011 email included a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”

• A December 2011 email included jokes that are based on offensive stereotypes about Muslims. (72)