Report: Everyone Protesting Racist Policing In Ferguson Was Right

Photo: MediaPunch/REX USA.
For months after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, last August, thousands of protesters took to the streets in that city and cities around the country. Their aim was justice for Michael Brown, but also to bring attention to a larger pattern of racist policing in Ferguson and in forces nationwide. 

Today, the U.S. Justice Department released the report from its investigation into the Ferguson Police. Its message? The protesters were right. According to an analysis of more than 35,000 pages of police records, the police department in the St. Louis suburb routinely engages in racially biased and just plain racist activities. 

The report — riddled with racist comments from officers — contains a range of damning facts and statistics.

— From 2012 to 2014, 93% of people arrested in Ferguson were black, in a city where African-Americans make up only 67% of the population overall.

— Racial profiling was systemic: In 88% of incidents where police used force, the individual they used it against was black; and during that same two-year period, black drivers — who made up 85% of all vehicle stops by police, and yet were 26% less likely to be found in possession of contraband during traffic stops — were twice as likely as white drivers to be searched.

— African-Americans were more likely to be stopped for minor infractions like jaywalking, and received 94% of all “failure to comply” charges.

The full report will be released Wednesday, according to Ferguson city officials.

Now that government officials have confirmed what citizens of Ferguson have known all along, the next steps are to use the findings from the report to institutionalize change in the Ferguson Police Department, either through consent decree or lawsuit.

“The city has always been committed to making sure we have the very best police department, and training and improvements or reforms we make to help improve service to the community, we are interested in,” said Ferguson mayor James Knowles. From the content of the report, however, it seems as though the mayor has his head in the sand.


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