Michael Brown

From the DOJ Division of No Kidding: Ferguson Gov't Charged with Racism and Excessive Force


That guy in the middle was probably one of the statistical exceptions on arrests.
Credit: World Can't Wait / photo on flickr

The New York Times today has a preview of the Department of Justice's report on Ferguson, Missouri. The full report will be released tomorrow. Here's what the Times knows about the report:

Police officers in Ferguson, Mo., have routinely violated the constitutional rights of the city's black residents, the Justice Department has concluded in a scathing report that accuses the officers of using excessive force and making unjustified traffic stops for years.

The Justice Department, which opened its investigation after a white Ferguson police officer shot and killed a black teenager last summer, says the discrimination was fueled in part by racial stereotypes held by city officials. Investigators say the officials made racist jokes about blacks on their city email accounts.

The population of Ferguson is 67 percent black. But 85 percent of all traffic stops from 2012 to 2014 were of blacks, as were 85 percent of all cases of use of force during that timeframe. Blacks accounted for 90 percent of all citations. Black motorists were twice as likely to be searched than whites, but were half as likely to have drugs or guns or other contraband.

One of the racist jokes referenced dated back to November 2008 and said that President Barack Obama wouldn't be president for long because "what black man holds a steady job for four years?"

The full report has not been released by the Department of Justice, so we only have this very preliminary information for now. Completely separate from these findings, the DOJ is still expected to clear Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson of any civil rights violations for shooting and killing Michael Brown last summer.

Below, Reason TV went to Ferguson to talk to citizens about the culture of harassment there: