Seven months after a white Ferguson police officer shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old, the Justice Department has issued a searing report into policing and court practices in the Missouri city. Investigators determined that in “nearly every aspect of Ferguson’s law enforcement system,” African Americans are impacted a severely disproportionate amount. The report included racist e-mails sent by police and municipal court supervisors, repeated examples of bias in law enforcement and a system that seemed built upon using arrest warrants to squeeze money out of residents.
Here are some key excerpts from the report:
The city’s practices are shaped by revenue rather than by public safety needs.
The 67% of African Americans in Ferguson account for 93% of arrests made from 2012-2014.
Here is what happened when a 32-year-old black man was seen resting in his car after playing basketball.
A Ferguson woman parked her car illegally once in 2007. It ended up costing her more than $1,000 and 6 days in jail.
The disproportionate number of arrests, tickets and use of force stemmed from “unlawful bias,” rather than black people committing more crime.
A singled missed, late or partial payment of a fine could mean jail time.
Arrest warrants are “almost exclusively” used as threats to push for payments.
And if time is served, no credit for jail time is received and the length of time isn’t even recorded by the court.
This example of a lieutenant’s actions was a huge cause for concern:
Officers used a dog to attack an unarmed 14-year-old black boy and then struck him while he was lying on the ground, all while he was waiting for his friends in an abandoned house. The report concludes that in every dog bite incident reported, the person bitten was black.
After an officer assaulted a man, he demanded the man not pass out because he didn’t want to carry him to his car.
From October 2012 to October 2014, every time a person was arrested because he or she was “resisting arrest,” that person was black.
Swati Sharma contributed to this report.