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Justice Department to Fault Ferguson Police, Seeing Racial Bias in Traffic Stops

March 02, 2015  | 

The Justice Department has nearly completed a highly critical report accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that created years of racial animosity leading up to an officer's shooting of a black teenager last summer, law enforcement officials said, reports the New York Times.

According to several officials who have been briefed on the report's conclusions, the report criticizes the city for disproportionately ticketing and arresting African-Americans and relying on the fines to balance the city's budget. The report, which is expected to be released as early as this week, will force Ferguson officials to either negotiate a settlement with the Justice Department or face being sued by it on civil rights charges. Either way, the result is likely to be significant changes inside the Ferguson Police Department, which is at the center of a national debate over race and policing.

Ferguson erupted into angry, sometimes violent protests after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in August. The Justice Department investigated that shooting, and officials have said they will clear the officer of civil rights charges. That finding is also expected soon.

While the Justice Department’s exact findings are not yet known, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who is expected to leave office in the next few weeks, and other officials have said publicly that their investigation has focused on the use of excessive force and the treatment of prisoners in local jails as well as the traffic stops.

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

RG @ 3/2/2015 6:14 PM

Ferguson's demographics is 65% black, 30% white, and single digit representation of other ethnicities/races. If you make 100 traffic stops per day, probability alone should lead one to believe that blacks will be "represented" in the traffic stop stats more than any other race. Unless the Justice Department is suggesting that police departments in areas that are similar to Ferguson - to make sure minorities aren't "disproportionately represented" - racially-profile whites and only conduct traffic stops upon them.

kevCopAz @ 3/2/2015 9:12 PM

What a joke! Thank God Holder is gone, what a mess as a A.G. he was, just a race hater with a badge. Here in Maricopa Cnty AZ the Justice department did the same thing with the Sheriff's Department, and now each and every time anyone is stopped in a traffic stop the Deputy has to fill out the citation AND a full page report as to the circumstances leading up to the stop and the reasons why the person was cited. Well guess what the end result is, less traffic stops, less arrests, less on view actions by the Deputies and I don't blame them. Why stop anyone anymore, this is what the public wants then give it to them, no traffic enforcement at all. The end result will serve the DOJ and the public that allows this to suffer the consequences. Don't they realize that if in fact a LEO is stopping people based upon Race this does nothing to expose that officer? They can still stop anyone they want of whatever race and then just stop a "counter stop" of a non minority to equal it out, dumb!

Tom @ 3/3/2015 9:01 AM

I would like to see the statistics myself. If the Justice Dept. is going to use stats, then I want to know where and how they got them. I will wait on an opinion until I know I have all of the information and not a few cherry picked numbers before I decide how I feel about this.

Richard Hightower @ 3/3/2015 11:21 AM

Maybe the high numbers of Black motorists being stopped in Ferguson, MO is because the are committing traffic violations at a higher rate than any other group of drivers.

Chuck W @ 3/3/2015 1:58 PM

So the DOJ can’t find any wrong doing, can’t find any reason to file charges, can’t find any reason to file Civil rights violation, basically can’t do anything because the police were right and the bad guy was wrong; but they have determined that there is a pattern of racial police bias and excessive force. What a freaking joke this guy is, we have determined they did nothing wrong but we are saying they are wrong anyway even without any proof.

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