Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Justice Undone

This is the reality of police brutality in 2015, that in America, in a black community like Ferguson, Missouri, police treat the people they are supposed to protect and serve like vermin that need to be extinguished.

The Justice Department has released a scathing report based on its investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department, in which it says the police department engaged in broad pattern of conduct that routinely violated the constitutional rights of African-Americans.

The DOJ findings include a pattern and practice of disproportionate stops and arrests of blacks without probable cause, unreasonable force, racially bias handling of warrants by municipal courts and a pattern of focusing on revenue over public safety that violated the rights of poor, black residents.

As part of the investigation, federal investigators also uncovered evidence of further racial bias and stereotyping by members of the Ferguson police department and municipal court officials in multiple emails sent from official city email accounts

The email evidence includes racist jokes that referenced President Barack Obama and another that referred to a refund a black woman received for an abortion as a credit from “Crimestoppers.”

The report comes six months after a white Ferguson police officer shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown Jr. The police shooting death drew widespread scrutiny and allegations of a long history of abuses committed by the overwhelmingly white police force against the city’s majority black population.

This is a systematic oppression of black residents of Ferguson by the police, by the city government, by the courts, and by public servants.  This is a city that treats its residents as criminals for the crime of being black.

According to the report, blacks made up 67% of the population between 2012 and 2014 but were 85% of those subject to a vehicle stop, 90% of those who received a citation from police and 93% of those arrested.

And while blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to be stopped while driving, they were 26% less likely to be found with illegal contraband.

In 88% of documented incidents in which police used of force against someone, that person was black. Blacks were even bitten by police dogs disproportionately. Each of the 14 cases involving someone being bitten by a police dog, that person was black.

The poor treatment didn’t end on the street. Blacks in Ferguson were 68% less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by the Municipal Judge and were disproportionately likely to have a warrant issued against them, according to the report. As recently as 2013, 96% of the people who were arrested on an outstanding warrant were black.

But even more than the treatment they received once stopped, the Justice Department’s report found that blacks were used in the criminal justice system to buoy the city’s economy and balance its budget. The practices uncovered by federal investigators have violated residents’ Constitutional Rights of due process and equal protection under the law.

In other words, harassing, arresting, and fining a captive, powerless populace was done on purpose in order to increase the money flowing into city coffers.

And it happened for years.  When they couldn't pay, the city wouldn't bother to arrest them (that would have cost more money than it was worth) but they would harass them.  In fact 75% of the city's 21,000 residents had an outstanding warrant against them for a minor offenses like parking or traffic tickets, which the residents of the city would have to pay court fees and more on.  They couldn't arrest the whole city, but they sure could do the next best thing.

And if you believe that this is limited to Ferguson, you haven't been paying attention.

But remember, racism is over in America.  We have a black president.

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