Ferguson: Justice Department finds shocking and historic abuse of black citizens

The U.S. Department of Justice investigative review found the Ferguson Police Department engaged in rampant, racially biased enforcement that permeated the city’s justice system, including the use of unreasonable force against African American suspects, according to an official familiar with the findings.
The findings are shocking:

  • In 88 percent of cases in which Ferguson police documented the use of force, for example, that force was used against African Americans, according to USA Today;
  • In all 14 canine bite incidents in which the suspect’s race is known, the person bitten was African American;
  • African Americans make up 67 percent of the population in Ferguson, but they accounted for 85 percent of the drivers stopped by police, 90 percent of the people issued tickets and 93 percent of the people arrested, a three-year examination of suspect stops found. When those cases reached the Municipal Court, authorities collected more fines for suspects’ failure to appear than any other charge, mostly from the city’s poorest and most vulnerable residents.
  • African Americans were more than twice as likely than white drivers to be searched during vehicle stops, but 26 percent less likely to have contraband, the review found.
  • The Ferguson Police Department often charged its black residents with petty crimes. African Americans accounted for 95 percent of the people charged with walking in the street and 92% of people charged with disturbing the peace.

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