According to The New York Times, the Justice Department has found the Ferguson Police Department at fault for targeting and ticketing Blacks to balance the city’s budget.
The Justice Department is poised to release a scathing report on Ferguson Police Department’s discriminatory practices, which exploded into nationwide scrutiny last August with the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson.
The report found that Ferguson police officers levied excessive fines on African Americans, disproportionately targeting Black residents for arrests and traffic tickets to fill gaps in the town’s budget.
“Traffic fines are the town’s second largest source of income, after sales tax. The DoJ report says that financial incentives are driving law enforcement to continue unfair policies, predominantly targeting African-Americans,” RT wrote.
In 2013, according to RT, Black Americans accounted for a whopping 86 percent of the city’s arrests.
The Justice Department’s critical report will require the Ferguson Police Department to either face a civil rights lawsuit or negotiate a settlement. Investigators don’t have to prove that the department’s policies were “racially motivated,” the NY Times adds, they just need to verify that the law enforcement agency had a “disparate impact” on African Americans.
“Because such systems do not account for individual circumstances of the accused, they essentially mandate pretrial detention for anyone who is too poor to pay the predetermined fee,” Vanita Gupta, the top civil rights prosecutor at the Justice Department, told the NY Times.
The report is also expected to include a reference to racist joke that circulated among the Ferguson Police Department officers via email.
The investigation into the Ferguson Police Department was announced last September by Attorney General Eric Holder.
“I wanted the people of Ferguson to know that I personally understood that mistrust,” Mr. Holder said after returning from a trip to Missouri last year. “I wanted them to know that while so much else may be uncertain, this attorney general and this Department of Justice stands with the people of Ferguson.”
Keeping his word, Holder, who is expected to officially leave office in the next few weeks, pledged the investigation would be fair and independent. “I’m confident people will be satisfied with the results,” he said.