On Wednesday, the Justice Department is expected to confirm what residents of Ferguson, Missouri, have been saying for years: That the city police department profits off racially discriminatory policies.
The government also found that Ferguson officials exchanged racist emails on their public email accounts, according to media reports.
The investigation was spurred by the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson in August. Attorney General Eric Holder pledged an inquiry after visiting Ferguson this fall and hearing first-hand allegations of police misconduct from black residents.
Fusion talked Ferguson-area residents who have protested against the treatment of minorities by city police to get their reaction to the early reports of the findings.
Etefia Umana, Sr.
“It’s not surprising. Just by looking and seeing and living, you know what’s going on. It wouldn’t take any kind of deep delving to uncover this. The only way that the Justice Department would not have found the data is if they did not look for it.”
City: North St. Louis
“We shouldn’t stop at Ferguson. Ferguson’s getting the short end of the stick. If they were doing it fairly, they would probe all of the departments. If [Ferguson] gets the black eye, will it trickle down? That’ll show people they’re going after everyone. The conditions in St. Louis city are way worse than Ferguson.”
“My thing is…the e-mails that were between the officers, saying different things about the president, racial slurs…that’s the part that’s really disturbing. You can’t do things like that. Just to know that a police force, working in areas that are supposed to protect us, are sending out things like that…it’s just kind of disturbing. Someone should be taking the blame for this, getting fired. They can’t continue to go forward with the same people that are doing these types of things.”
City: St. Louis
“My first initial thought was, They finally listened after what we’ve been yelling about for six months and did something official! My next thought was if Ferguson is guilty of racial bias, what does that make Darren Wilson? What does that change about the Mike Brown case?
I hope these other police departments that have racial bias get scared and start to get it together a little bit, hoping the DOJ doesn’t come their way. Darren Wilson being let go wasn’t enough. They still have a police chief who gives the same orders … he needs to go, too.”
“It’s not going to stop nothing. This is a process that’s been going on for years. You can’t change it overnight or in a few months. It’s just going to work that way. [The police are] going to do what they’re going to do, regardless. That’s how we live everyday. They stop us, they hit us…and they get away with it.”
After the report’s release, Ferguson can either negotiate a settlement with the government or face a civil-rights lawsuit.