March 4, 2015 at 11:30 am #7580
Sadly, there were riots and much damage to property all because of lies, opportunists, and prejudice.
The Justice Department announced Wednesday that it will not prosecute former Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of an unarmed black 18-year-old, while also releasing a report faulting the city and its law enforcement for racial bias.
In the criminal investigation, federal officials concluded Wilson’s actions “do not constitute prosecutable violations under the applicable federal criminal rights statute.”
Specifically, the DOJ said there was “no evidence” to disprove Wilson’s testimony that he feared for his safety, nor was there reliable evidence that Michael Brown had his hands up when he was shot.
The report said: “Although there are several individuals who have stated that Brown held his hands up in an unambiguous sign of surrender prior to Wilson shooting him dead, their accounts do not support a prosecution of Wilson. As detailed throughout this report, some of those accounts are inaccurate because they are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence; some of those accounts are materially inconsistent with that witness’s own prior statements with no explanation, credible or otherwise, as to why those accounts changed over time.”
The decision in the Aug. 9 shooting had been expected, in part because of the high legal standard needed for a federal civil rights prosecution. Wilson, who has said Brown struck him in the face and reached for his gun during a tussle, also had been cleared by a Missouri grand jury in November and later resigned from the department.March 4, 2015 at 12:07 pm #7581duxruleParticipant
None of this changes the FACT that Officer Wilson gunned down an unarmed man. “Unable to prosecute” is not the necessarily the same thing as “innocent.”March 4, 2015 at 12:08 pm #7582
Then there’s these cold, hard facts about the police force. I think the people of the community have a right to be pissed.
Investigators from the agency’s Civil Rights Division found that Ferguson’s black citizens, who make up about 67 percent of the city’s 21,000 residents, made up 85 percent of traffic stops, and 93 percent of all arrests from 2012 to 2014. Black drivers were more than twice as likely as whites to be searched during traffic stops, but were less likely to be found holding anything illegal. Blacks were also the focus of 88 percent of instances in which police used force to subdue someone.
A similar pattern emerged inside Ferguson’s municipal court, where data indicated that the town targeted blacks for arrests on outstanding warrants to appear in court, the Justice Department said. From October 2012 to October 2014, 96 percent of those arrested during traffic stops solely because of an outstanding warrant were black, investigators found.
Blacks were also far more likely to be hit with petty offenses like jaywalking, disturbing the peace and “failure to comply,” according to investigators. From 2011 to 2013, blacks accounted for 92 percent or more of people who faced such charges.
Blacks were also 68 percent less likely than people of other races to have their cases dismissed, the investigators found.
Seeking an explanation for those discrepancies, investigators from the Civil Rights Division blamed a sustained focus on generating revenue as the expense of citizens’ constitutional rights of due process and equal protection. The charge that the city relies on more than any other was for failing to show up at a scheduled court date. In 2013 alone, the court collected $442,901 in fines for “failure to appear,” which accounted for a quarter of the municipal court’s revenue that year. The “failure to appear” charge was dropped by the city in September.
The burden of this landed disproportionately on the town’s poorest citizens, many of whom fell into massive debt, lost their drivers licenses, could not keep a job, or ended up behind bars, investigators found. As of December 2014, 16,000 people had outstanding arrest warrants issued by the Ferguson Municipal Court, most of them for minor violations such as parking and traffic infractions.March 4, 2015 at 12:34 pm #7584
U.S. probe finds systematic, racially biased policing in Ferguson
A U.S. probe found systemic racial bias and unconstitutional policing that targeted blacks in Ferguson, Missouri, but cleared a white officer there in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in August, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.
The report said police in the St. Louis suburb issued almost all of its traffic citations to blacks as it tried to raise revenue through fines and court fees.
Police also targeted blacks for arrests, many on dubious grounds, and spread racist jokes through emails, said the report that was compiled after Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed.
“This emphasis on revenue has compromised the institutional character of Ferguson’s police department, contributing to a pattern of unconstitutional policing,” the Justice Department said.
The report said city officials routinely urged Police Chief Tom Jackson to generate revenue through enforcement actions against the town’s mostly black population.
Officers were promoted in part based on the number of citations they issued, and civilians were seen less as “constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue,” the report said.
The report said Ferguson police conduct stops without reasonable suspicion and make arrests without probable cause. It said African Americans in Ferguson were more likely to be charged with petty offenses and held longer in jail than other races.March 4, 2015 at 1:27 pm #7585
Whatever problems there are in the police force, the fact is that Wilson protected himself from a thug who was out to harm him or kill him. That he was unarmed is irrelevant, especially since he apparently was attempting to arm himself with Wilson’s gun. The grand jury saw no reason to prosecute and they have been vindicated by the DOJ. Case closed, finally.
Witnesses lied, according to the DOJ. They changed their stories. They testified contrary to forensic evidence.
Blame Brown’s parents if you need to point a finger. They were crappy parents and poor examples.March 4, 2015 at 3:20 pm #7592Deane JohnsonParticipant
I think white guys get shot also when they try to take a cops gun and use it on him.March 4, 2015 at 3:26 pm #7593
Sorry, but I don’t blame the victim, who is dead. I blame the systematic, racially biased policing in Ferguson, along with the entire court system which has stacked the deck against the entire black population.
The cop engaged with an unarmed kid and somehow the kid ends up being shot and killed. No matter how you slice it, Darren Wilson failed to do his job.March 4, 2015 at 3:33 pm #7594edselehrParticipant
The people of Ferguson aren’t idiots; they are citizens like you and I. Their protests were not born of this one incident, but from a long train of abuses and usurpations. The cops in Ferguson apparently have a history of unfair treatment of the citizens, so when a person is shot dead under very suspicious circumstances, protests are to be expected.
I also believe that Dick Cheney thinks his paranoia about Iraq justified a trillion-dollar war and the loss of thousands of lives…and he was wrong. Is that “sad” too?March 4, 2015 at 3:33 pm #7595duxruleParticipant
We have a new test case in LA.March 4, 2015 at 3:41 pm #7596
The victim was Officer Wilson. He was the victim of a violent assault.March 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm #7597
The victim is dead.
Had the officer not engaged, no shots would have been fired.March 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm #7598
In his remarks, Holder said the systemic problems in Ferguson went far beyond just the police department. A trove of work emails from not only police but also other city officials revealed “racist comments or gender discrimination, demonstrating grotesque views and images of African Americans in which they were seen as the ‘other,’ called ‘transient’ by public officials and characterized as lacking personal responsibility,” he said.
The Justice Department report further denounced the emails as unequivocally derogatory, dehumanizing and demonstrative of impermissible bias.” It found that none of the officers or court clerk employees who wrote them was ever disciplined. Senior Justice Department officials said some of them, in fact, were still employed by Ferguson.
Included in the report were:
•A November 2008 email stating that President Barack Obama would not be president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years?”
•A March 2010 email mocking African-Americans through speech and familial stereotypes, using a story involving child support. “I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment!” one read. “Month after month, year after year, all dose payments!”
•An April 2011 email depicting Obama as a chimpanzee.
•A May 2011 email stating: “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 describing 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 including 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 including jokes that are based on offensive stereotypes about Muslims.
Holder said the flagrant bias was coupled with determination to squeeze every possible penny out of overzealous enforcement of minor violations — “to use law enforcement not as a public service, but as a tool for raising revenue.”
Holder said the Justice Department found that the unconstitutional practices extended to nearly every level of Ferguson’s law enforcement system. Ferguson police issued nearly 50 percent more citations in the last year than they did in 2010, even though there was no rise in crime, he said.
Ferguson officers routinely charge multiple violations for the same conduct, competing to see who can issue the most citations during a single stop. In one particularly egregious example, he cited the case of a woman For example, who received two parking tickets in 2008 that totaled $152. But so far, she has paid $550 in fines and fees, has been arrested twice for having unpaid tickets and has spent six days in jail — and “yet she still inexplicably owes Ferguson $541,” he said.
From October 2012 to July 2014, African-Americans accounted for 85 percent of all charges brought by Ferguson police, and they made up more than 90 percent of those charged with highly discretionary offenses like “manner of walking along roadway,” Holder said. In every case in which records recorded the race of a person bitten by a police dog, the subject was African-American.
The fallout is an “unsustainable situation that has not only severely damaged relationships between law enforcement and members of the community but [has] made professional policing vastly more difficult — and unnecessarily placed officers at increased risk,” he said.March 4, 2015 at 4:06 pm #7601
Officers are SUPPOSED to engage crooks. Duh…March 4, 2015 at 4:16 pm #7602
They engaged based on bias.March 4, 2015 at 10:32 pm #7618BroadwayParticipant
>>based on bias
Good grief Vit, you’re EXTREMELY biased against everything about me (and Jerry) and you really don’t even know me/us…sayin…
Just let the good guys win.
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