DOJ Finds Racial Bias in the Ferguson Police Department

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After spending the last three months reviewing 35,000 pages of Ferguson police records and other documents, Department of Justice investigators have found that despite the fact that African Americans make up just over 65 percent of the population in Ferguson, they accounted for 93 percent of all arrests between 2012 and 2014. Their findings confirm the public opinion theory that the department responsible for the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown is plagued with racial bias. The DOJ found that the Ferguson Police Department routinely violated the constitutional rights of black people in the form of racial profiling, excessive force, and unsubstantiated arrests.

I invite you to read the full 102 page report courtesy of Vox here, but for the sake of time here are the more shocking stats regarding Ferguson police practices found in the report:

  • 93 percent of the people arrested were black
  • 90 percent of citations were given to black people
  • 88 percent of cases where police reported using force were against black people
  • 85 percent of vehicle stops involved black people
  • 94 percent of Failure to Comply charges were given to black people
  • 100 percent of police canine biting incidents for which racial information is available, the person bitten was black.

It gets worse. The report also included references to several racist emails by Ferguson officials, all of whom are current employees, sent through their official City of Ferguson email accounts during work hours on the taxpayers’ dime. Here are a few of DOJ officials’ descriptions of the outrageously offensive emails in the report:

A November 2008 email stated that President Barack Obama would not be President for very long because ‘what black man holds a steady job for four years.’

A May 2011 email stated: ‘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.’’

A June 2011 email 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.’

An October 2011 email included a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, ‘Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.’

According to CNN, the DOJ formally ended its investigation into Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Brown by choosing not to bring forth criminal charges, determining in another report that:

There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson’s stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety.

However, the investigative findings may provide little closure for a city still full of civil unrest, but very much in need of healing. Protest leaders are calling for the resignation of Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson and the disbandment of the entire department. Jackson’s resignation may in fact be inevitable, this report serving as a proverbial final nail in the coffin for him and his entire police force.

Alexis Evans
Alexis Evans is an Assistant Editor at Law Street and a Buckeye State native. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a minor in Business from Ohio University. Contact Alexis at



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