Racist email among findings in Justice Dept. Ferguson investigation

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL/AP) – As early as Wednesday, we may get a look at the Justice Department investigation into the Ferguson, Missouri police, jail and court systems. Already officials familiar with the report are releasing information to the Associated Press and other media outlets.

The Justice Department began the civil rights investigation following the August shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a white police officer. That killing set off weeks of protests.

According to the Associated Press, the report will allege sweeping patterns of discrimination within the Ferguson, Missouri, police department, jails and courts.

The report will charge:

  • Police disproportionately use excessive force against blacks
  • Black drivers are stopped and searched far more often than whites, even though they’re less likely to be carrying contraband
  • Blacks were 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by a municipal court judge
  • From April to September of last year, 95 percent of people kept at the city jail for more than two days were black.
  • Direct evidence of racial bias among police officers and court workers
  • Evidence the criminal justice system prioritizes making money over public safety

In addition to the overall findings, the report also contains an email from a municipal account saying that President Barack Obama would not be president for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”

The officials spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record before the report is made public.

The Justice Department has conducted roughly 20 broad civil rights investigations of police departments during the tenure of Attorney General Eric Holder, including Cleveland, Newark, New Jersey and Albuquerque. Most of those investigations end with the police department agreeing to changes its practices.

 

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