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DOJ finds “sweeping” racism in Ferguson police and courts

“A Justice Department investigation will allege sweeping patterns of discrimination within the Ferguson, Missouri, police department and at the municipal jail and court …. [P]olice disproportionately use excessive force against blacks …, black drivers are stopped and searched far more often than white motorists, even though they’re less likely to be carrying contraband …, blacks were 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by a municipal court judge, … 95 percent of people kept at the city jail for more than two days were black,” and in addition, DOJ found “direct evidence of racial bias among police officers and court workers and … a criminal justice system that prioritizes generating revenue over public safety,” the Seattle Times reported this morning.

We already knew all this from previous media investigative reporting; DOJ’s investigation merely confirms what is obvious to Ferguson’s oppressed and exploited black residents. Ferguson, an inner suburb of St. Louis, has a local government that’s a holdover from the Jim Crow era. Although Ferguson, a city of 21,000 — about the size of the Seattle suburb of Kenmore or the eastern Washington city of Moses Lake — is two-thirds black, it has never had a black mayor, only 1 of its 6 city council members are black, its municipal judges and prosecutors are white, and its police force is nearly all white. Ferguson’s city ordinances, courts, and police all operate as a cruel shakedown system that extracts money from poor blacks, enforced by jail sentences and violent cops. Whites are exempted.

Maybe America’s southern governors don’t block schoolhouse doors anymore, and southern sheriffs no longer attack civil rights marchers with swinging billy clubs and vicious police dogs. But the struggle for minority civil rights that began a half century ago is far from over. We still have de facto segregation in this country, supported by subtly disguised de jure discrimination. Large-scale efforts are still being made to prevent African-Americans from voting, especially in southern states, and in culturally southern cities like St. Louis and its Balkan surroundings. There are those who just don’t want to give up the old Confederate ways.

It’s time to break the back of American racism, and Ferguson’s city government, municipal courts, and police department are as good a place as any to start. DOJ should sue to have Ferguson put in federal receivership under the supervision of a federal judge. Ferguson’s municipal government is so racist and so corrupt it should be completely rebuilt from scratch.Roger-Rabbit-icon1

 


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