DOJ Findings Accuse Ferguson Police of Pattern of Racial Bias

Police advance through a cloud of tear gas toward demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown Aug. 17, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. 
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Department of Justice is preparing to release findings this week alleging that the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department practiced routine racial bias and violated the constitutional rights of residents, the Washington Post reports.

According to the report, department officials discovered that although 67 percent of Ferguson’s population is black, black people made up 93 percent of all arrests 2012-2014.


Currently, Justice officials are trying to reach an agreement with the Police Department to prompt a change in practices, which the DOJ says includes use of excessive force and unjustified arrests and traffic stops. If no settlement can be reached, the Justice Department could file a lawsuit against the department.

The Post notes that the findings indicate that black residents made up about 85 percent of all individuals stopped by police officers in Ferguson and 90 percent of all citations issued.


Police were also more prone to use excessive force against black citizens, who were involved in 88 percent of all cases in which force was used. All 14 canine-bite incidents for which race was available involved a black person, the Post notes.

Full evidence is set to be released this week as early as Wednesday, according to the Post. Part of the evidence showing racial bias included an email written by Ferguson police and municipal court officials, one of which, dated November 2008, claimed that President Barack Obama would not be president for long, since “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”


According to the Post, the review concludes that racial bias and prioritizing revenue above public safety have heavily affected Ferguson’s police and court practices, putting them in violation of the Constitution and federal law. 

Read more at the Washington Post.

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