A report due out today from the Justice Department states that the Ferguson police department has routinely violated the constitutional rights of its black citizens, according to reports.
The Ferguson police department entered the national spotlight following the shooting of an unarmed black man, 18-year-old Michael Brown, last year. Following Brown’s death, wide-scale protests overtook the city. Police officials responded tragically and escalated tensions as blacks publicly stated they experienced a different justice system than whites in Ferguson.
The Justice Department’s report is said to confirm what those residents have been saying. The Ferguson Police Department discriminated and unjustly targeted blacks in Ferguson, Missouri.
Emails uncovered in the investigation highlight the casual nature of the racism in Ferguson. One email sought to address the election of President Barack Obama by stating that he would not be president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years. Another described a black woman receiving a check from Crime Stoppers for having an abortion.
It is unclear what the next steps for Ferguson will be, following the release of the report. A lawsuit could be filed by the Justice Department and the Ferguson police department could either fight it or settle. Commentators have stated that it is unlikely the Department will make changes internally without such a lawsuit.
According the Times, it is unlikely that the Justice Department will purge employees from the department:
In pushing for police reforms, the Justice Department typically does not call for personnel changes, such as the firing of a police chief. Instead, it typically seek [sic] institutional changes, such as mandated training, efforts to diversify the police force and more outside oversight. In many cities, the two sides agree on a federal monitor to ensure the police department is complying.
The data in the Justice Department’s report on Ferguson will show that blacks were the subject of 85 percent of traffic stops, 90 percent of tickets and 93 percent of arrests; that blacks were 68 percent less likely to have their cases dismissed by judges, and that 95 percent of the people kept in jail for more than two days were black.
In the face of such overwhelming bias in Ferguson, it may be time for the Justice Department to rethink not wiping the slate clean and restaffing the entire police department.