On Wednesday, the Department of Justice released the highly anticipated report of its investigation into the Ferguson, Missouri police department, and revealed shocking accounts of racial tension between white officers and the city’s black residents.
The report, separate from the department’s announcement on Wednesday that former officer Darren Wilson would not face charges for the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown, detailed evidence found indicating racial bias through emails sent by Ferguson officials.
Some of the evidence presented included a 2008 email stating that Barack Obama would not remain president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years?” Another directed at the President, from 2011, depicted him as a chimpanzee. One email directed at First Lady Michelle Obama included a picture of a group of bare-chested women dancing, seemingly in Africa, with the caption “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”
Among the other shockingly offensive emails discovered through the department’s investigation included a 2010 email that “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!’”
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In addition, it was revealed in the DOJ’s report that Ferguson officials would often criticize black citizens for lacking personal responsibility despite it being “common practice” for Ferguson officers to write off citations, fines and fees for “friends, colleagues, acquaintances and themselves.” In a more disturbing example of racism, an African American man told DOJ officials that police were called to his apartment in August of 2014 after he became involved in an argument. The man was “immediately” removed from the apartment by force. He reportedly told the responding officer that he didn’t “have a reason to lock me up,” to which the officer replied “N****r, I can find something to lock you up on.”
The report also detailed an incident involving a woman who had called the police to report a domestic violence incident, but ended up being arrested herself for an “occupancy permit violation.” The woman was later quoted as saying she “hated the Ferguson Police Department and will never call again, even if she is being killed.”
Read the full Department of Justice report here.