The Justice Department just released its investigation into the Ferguson, Mo., police department, an inquiry that was initiated after an officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, last summer. Investigators found numerous examples “of racial bias among police and court staff in Ferguson,” and the report contained several racist e-mails that included jokes about President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, African Americans and Muslims.
Although the Justice Department did not identify the people who sent or received these e-mails, it said that the officials involved are all still employed and that several police officers, court supervisors and commanders were involved.
Here is a rundown of these e-mails, with all descriptions taken directly from the Justice Department’s report:
- November 2008: An e-mail said President Obama would not be president for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
- March 2010: An e-mail mocked African Americans through a story involving child support. One line from the e-mail read: “I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment! Month after month, year after year, all dose payments!”
- April 2011: An e-mail depicted Obama as a chimpanzee.
- May 2011: An e-mail said: “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.’”
- June 2011: An e-mail 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.”
- October 2011: An e-mail included a photo of a group of bare-chested women dancing, seemingly in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”
- December 2011: An e-mail included jokes that are based on offensive stereotypes about Muslims.
There were other e-mails that showed “racial or ethnic bias, as well as other forms of bias,” the report states, but only these were included. The investigation did not find any suggestion that anyone involved in these e-mails were disciplined, nor were the e-mails reported or the people who sent them asked to stop. “Instead, the emails were usually forwarded along to others,” according to the report.
[UPDATE: On Wednesday afternoon, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said at a news conference that three people were placed on leave due to the racist e-mails; one of them has been fired, while two others are still under investigation.]