Let’s Be Real: The Ferguson Police Department’s Discriminatory Tactics Aren’t A Rarity

March 12, 2015  |  

Police continue to look for evidence after two officers were shot last night during protests. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Department of Justice gave the Ferguson Police Department a good tongue-lashing for its discriminatory tactics, but let’s be real here — this isn’t an anomaly.

As MN has mentioned before, the FPD, whose police chief is finally stepping down, was found at fault for disproportionately ticketing and arresting African-Americans to gain revenue for the municipality. The DoJ’s investigation discovered that despite being only 67 percent of the Ferguson population, a whopping 90 percent of citations were issued to Blacks during the 2011-2012 period, according to Salon.

Blacks were twice is likely to be stopped by Ferguson police officers, despite being 26 percent less likely to possess contraband.

On top of that, FPD officers would sneakily write a summons with the wrong date and time for court appearances, which heightens the probability of the defendant facing higher fines for failing to attend their hearing, according to FrostIllustrated.

“In other cases, a ticket will indicate a charge, but omit other crucial information. For example, speeding tickets often fail to indicate the alleged speed observed, even though both the fine owed and whether a court appearance is mandatory depends upon the specific speed alleged,” the DoJ report said, scolding the FDP for incomplete citations.

But the FPD’s corruption is certainly not a rarity. The department is only under the public microscope because of its connection with Michael Brown’s murder last year. There are, unsurprisingly, 21 other departments being probed for targeting people of color, according to IJReview. Let’s take a look at a few.

Let’s head over to the Northeast — Newark, New Jersey. The police department received a barrage of complaints concerning discriminatory practices against Blacks and use of excessive force. When investigators probed into the agency, the DoJ found that a whopping 75 percent of the city’s were unwarranted, according to CNN.

Moving over to the Southeast, we have New Orleans, Louisiana in the DoJ’s crosshairs. The NOPD murdered 27 people between 2009 and 2010. All were African-American. In the report, the NOPD was accused of everything from discriminatory policing to excessive force to failure to probe into sexual assault cases.

In 2009, the NOPD arrested 500 Black men, but only eight white men. “Per capita,” IJReview said, “that is a 16 to 1 ratio.”

James B. Cromey, the FBI director, confirmed that the reports show an “unconscious racial bias” within the U.S. police departments.

“Tensions could be eased if the police got to know those they were charged to protect,” Comey said in a speech last Thursday. “It’s hard to hate up close.”

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