The Justice Department on Wednesday announced it had found broad racial bias in the Ferguson, Missouri, police and other municipal departments. The findings were announced as part of a 100-plus-page report on a nine-month investigation of city offices after the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown at the hands of white police officer Darren Wilson.
The department declined to bring charges against Wilson. But the broader, separate report on the city found damning evidence of a pattern of racial bias—a pattern that has resulted in unlawful arrests and fines, among other negative consequences for the people of Ferguson.
Among the findings were several racially tinged emails discovered by Department of Justice investigators. As part of the report, they summarized the contents of seven of those emails, which were all sent by current employees “almost exclusively” through their official email accounts.
From the report:
- A November 2008 email stated that President Barack Obama would not be President for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
- A March 2010 email mocked African Americans through speech and familial stereotypes, using a story involving child support. One line from the email read: “I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment! Month after month, year after year, all dose payments!”
- An April 2011 email depicted President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee.
- A May 2011 email stated: “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.’”
- A June 2011 email described a man seeking to obtain “welfare” for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.”
- An October 2011 email included a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”
- A December 2011 email included jokes that are based on offensive stereotypes about Muslims.
“Now that our investigation has reached its conclusion, it is time for Ferguson’s leaders to take immediate, wholesale and structural corrective action,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “The report we have issued and the steps we have taken are only the beginning of a necessarily resource-intensive and inclusive process to promote reconciliation, to reduce and eliminate bias, and to bridge gaps and build understanding.”
You can read the full report here.
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.