Justice Department Finds Police Bias and Excessive Force in Ferguson

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Ferguson

The report accuses the officers of using excessive force and making unjustified traffic stops for years.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that a Justice Department investigation has found patterns of racial bias in the Ferguson, Missouri, police department and at the municipal jail and court.

The official says the investigation found that officers disproportionately used excessive force against blacks and too often charged them with petty offenses. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak on the record before the full report was released.

The official says the report will allege direct evidence of racial bias among police officers and court workers and a system that prioritizes generating revenue from fines over public safety.

The full report could be released as soon as Wednesday.

The Justice Department began the civil rights investigation following the August shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a white police officer.

The New York Times reports:

In compiling the report, federal investigators conducted hundreds of interviews, reviewed 35,000 pages of police records and analyzed race data compiled for every police stop. They concluded that, over the past two years, African-Americans — who make up about two-thirds of the city’s population — accounted for 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of citations, 93 percent of arrests and 88 percent of cases in which the police used force.

Black motorists were twice as likely as whites to be searched but were less likely to be found in possession of contraband such as drugs or guns.



This report confirms what residents, then protesters, have been saying during the past year. The disproportionate amount of black officers vs. white officers, with the demographics of the city, has created a volatile system.

On an aside (sort of), you can read some appalling comments here under the AP’s article at Yahoo News.

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H/T: My buddy @TomCinmidlife with thanks.

Image: AP.

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