The U.S. Department of Justice just released its long-anticipated civil rights investigation into the police department of Ferguson, Missouri that reveals a horrifying pattern of racial bias and targeted abuse of the city’s African-American residents. While the DoJ did not find sufficient evidence to convict former police officer, Darren Wilson, of civil rights charges for shooting an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, to death last summer, the report could lead to a federal lawsuit against the city.
The report described the police department as a “collective agency” that exploited blacks. African-Americans make up 67 percent of Ferguson’s population, but they were the target of 85 percent of all traffic stops, 90 percent of all citations and 93 percent of all arrests. A specific citation for “manner of walking” was issued to African-Americans 95 percent of the time.
The report goes into further detail regarding several examples of racial bias and policing including official police emails that poked fun at black stereotypes and using excessive force.
The DoJ has threatened to sue the police department if it does not comply with its demands for change. The DoJ wants a “shift from policing to raise revenue to policing in partnership with the entire Ferguson community” and wants greater accountability and training to reduce racial bias and "de-escalate" situations where force may be used.
The findings uncover a deeply embedded culture of corruption and racism within the Ferguson police department that desperately needs social change, and highlights — yet again — the crucial need to change America's police force from one based on militarized force to community connection and understanding.