2 Racist Jokes Cited in Ferguson Investigation

Justice Department will release findings about bias this week
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2015 4:08 PM CST
2 Racist Jokes Cited in Ferguson Investigation
In this Nov. 25, 2014, file photo, police watch the street as protesters gather outside the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Mo.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

The Justice Department is expected to release a report this week that will accuse Ferguson police of bias against black residents. Among the details trickling out in advance is the discovery of two racist jokes in emails written by Ferguson cops and municipal court officials, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

  • One from 2008 says that President Obama won't serve a full term because "what black man holds a steady job for four years."
  • Another from 2011: "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.'"

The Justice Department will make the case that an atmosphere in which these kinds of jokes were circulated—the authors are not identified—is partly to blame for police bias. The big stat: African-Americans make up 67% of the population but account for 93% of arrests. Justice Department officials are trying to negotiate a settlement with the Ferguson department to force improvements and could sue if no agreement is reached, reports the Washington Post. A separate investigation remains open into whether officer Darren Wilson will face federal civil rights charges for shooting Michael Brown—it's unlikely—and that decision may be announced along with the racial-bias findings, perhaps as early as tomorrow, reports the Post-Dispatch. (More Ferguson, Missouri stories.)

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