US ATTORNEY General Eric Holder says leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, must take ‘immediate, wholesale action’ after a report of widespread racial bias in its law enforcement.
In what Holder himself called a ‘searing’ report, the Justice Department found a ‘disturbing and unconstitutional’ pattern of abuse.
Holder also warned that while the problems found in the report in Ferguson were ‘acute’ they were ‘not confined to any one city, state, or geographic region’.
The inquiry began after the shooting to death of Michael Brown, 18, by police.
His death sparked nationwide protests over police treatment of minorities.
One police official has been fired and another two suspended after the investigation uncovered racist emails.
Justice officials released seven racist emails written by Ferguson police and municipal court officials that they said indicated ‘intentional discrimination’.
A November 2008 email, for instance, stated that President Obama could not be president for very long because ‘what black man holds a steady job for four years’.
Another email described Obama as a ‘chimpanzee’.
An email from 2011 showed a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women apparently in Africa with the caption: ‘Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.’
Another joked that a black woman would help stop crime because she got an abortion.
Justice officials did not specifically identify who wrote the emails and to whom they were sent, but said they were written by police and court supervisors.
A separate investigation has ended with no federal civil rights charges against former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who killed Brown.
A Missouri grand jury also declined to charge him with murder in November.
‘Michael Brown’s death, though a tragedy, did not involve prosecutable conduct on the part of Officer Wilson,’ Holder said in a statement at the Justice Department.
Holder described Ferguson as a community where officials used law enforcement to generate revenue and did so disproportionately against African-Americans because of racial bias.
He says: ‘Amid a highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided practices – it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg.’
Speaking of the uprising after the murder of Brown, Holder says, ‘In a sense, members of the community may not have been responding only to a single isolated confrontation, but also to a pervasive, corrosive, and deeply unfortunate lack of trust.’
Seven months after a white Ferguson police officer shot and killed the unarmed 18-year-old, the Justice Department found the following about policing and court practices in the Missouri city.
• The city’s practices are shaped by revenue rather than by public safety needs.
• The 67% of African Americans in Ferguson account for 93% of arrests made from 2012-2014.
• A Ferguson woman parked her car illegally once in 2007. It ended up costing her more than $1,000 and 6 days in jail.
There has been a spate of well-publicised police shootings throughout the USA.
At the same time, there has been a huge surge of class struggle by low-paid black, white and Mexican workers for a basic minimum wage of $15 an hour, more than double the current legal minimum.
The black masses are amongst the most exploited sections of the working class, where they are continuously under attack by the employers and the police.
However, they are a vital part of the massive US working class. One US Republican leader, Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker, has already compared US workes to IS terrorists.
The truth is that the liberation of black workers can only come about as part of the liberation of the working class as a whole, through the victory of the American socialist revolution. This revolution is now developing in leaps and bounds!