After a six-month investigation, the Department of Justice has found that the Ferguson Police Department is guilty of using excessive force and regularly discriminating against the city’s Black residents, infringing on their constitutional rights.
The New York Times reports that the DOJ launched its investigation soon after unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson last August.
After interviewing hundreds of residents and officials and analyzing police records, investigators found that the city’s Black community, which accounts for 67 percent of its population, makes up 85 percent of traffic stops, 93 percent of arrests and 88 percent of instances where violent force was used. Ninety-two percent of cases with warrants involved Black suspects, and 95 percent of those who were jailed for more than two days were Black. Government officials also found evidence of racist jokes exchanged by police officers via email.
Ferguson police are now liable to a lawsuit filed by the DOJ unless a settlement is reached.
The findings that were released today were only a portion of the report; the full investigation is expected to come tomorrow.