Protesters March On Ferguson Police Department To Demand Change In Light Of DOJ Report

ferguson police department

Hours after the Department of Justice released a report Wednesday highlighting systemic racial discrimination committed by the Ferguson Police Department, protesters gathered in front of the police station in Ferguson to call for change and the dismantling of the current department. The DOJ announced on Wednesday afternoon that former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would not face any federal criminal charges over the shooting death of Michael Brown last August. At the same time, a 100-page report was released showing the Ferguson Police Department’s “pattern and practice” of targeting African-Americans in the community.

Attorney General Eric Holder held a press conference to announce the DOJ findings into city’s police department Wednesday afternoon. He stated that the racial tensions that developed in the area were far from surprising given the toxic environment that was fostered by the local police. Per Holder, the Brown killing was just the spark that lit the powder keg that had been built up by years of abuse heaped upon Ferguson’s African-American community. Holder specifically noted that Ferguson PD looked to black members of the community as a revenue generator for the city.

“According to our investigation, this emphasis on revenue generation through policing has fostered unconstitutional practices — or practices that contribute to constitutional violations — at nearly every level of Ferguson’s law enforcement system.”

The report, which can be read in its entirety here, showed that while African-Americans made up 67% of Ferguson’s population between October 2012 through October 2014, they accounted for 85% of its traffic stops. Also, it was noted that while black drivers were twice as likely to be searched than whites, white drivers were 26% more likely to be carrying contraband than blacks. It was also revealed that African-Americans made up 88% of use of force instances and 90% of citations issued. Every single time a police dog was used to attack an individual involved an African-American.

Overall, the DOJ found that the city looked towards the police department to harass poor African-American community members in order to sustain Ferguson’s budget. In 2010, the city collected $1.38 million in fines and fees through its courts, out of a total budget of $11.07 million. By 2013, the amount had grown to $2.11 million, and Ferguson is estimating that it should collect over $3 million in 2015. The city’s population is 21,000. Essentially, city officials look to their police officers to act as salesmen, but instead of selling a product, they are out there writing tickets to bring in money to the city.

While Holder was criticizing the Ferguson police, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch was criticizing Holder. The prosecutor, who basically served as Darren Wilson’s defense attorney during Wilson’s grand jury proceedings, took umbrage with the leaks that came out from the report before its release and the fact that Holder said a bunch of mean things about the Ferguson PD.

“The only pattern and practice I can talk about is the pattern and practice of the Department of Justice of leaking information to the media. [No one is saying] there haven’t been instances of racial profiling and other profiling, but to suggest that somehow it’s all that goes on out there in fact does a great disservice to everybody.”

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III gave a prepared speech shortly after Holder’s press conference. Knowles promised there would be reforms made to the city’s police department and other government entities. (Of course, Ferguson has no choice, lest they want to be sued by the DOJ.) He also highlighted some of the changes that have been made in the city over the past few months. However, his address was brief, and Police Chief Tom Jackson was nowhere to be seen. After delivering his remarks, Knowles skedaddled to the back of the Ferguson Community Center.

With this as the backdrop, dozens of protesters arrived at the Ferguson police station Wednesday evening to make their voices heard and let the city and department know that change isn’t an option, it is a necessity. Despite frigid temperatures, activists and demonstrators showed up in force to protest outside the building that symbolically represents the racial disparity that exists in this nation’s justice system. For at least two hours, protesters marched up and down the street in front of the building, stopping traffic both ways most of the time.

Eventually, police officers on scene decided to force the demonstrators out of the streets by threatening arrests. The demonstrators agreed to move to the station’s parking lot and sidewalk to continue the protest. However, at least four people were arrested by the police for illegally being in the street. (A tactic, mind you, that was mentioned in the DOJ’s report.) All were women, one being a legal observer. Per Kayla Reed, a community organizer and activist, at least two women were assaulted by police during arrests. She was able to capture video and post it on Twitter.

One message that was sent clearly Wednesday evening was that the protests will not stop until justice is delivered. That justice will not be served with Ferguson getting rid of a few bad apples. The protests won’t stop with the firing/resignation of Jackson. Justice will not be delivered by hiring a few more black officers. No, the protests will continue as long as racial discrimination in our nation’s police departments and court systems exists.

17 Replies to “Protesters March On Ferguson Police Department To Demand Change In Light Of DOJ Report”

  1. What goes on in Ferguson happens in every city in this country, both great and small. African-Americans are unfairly target and receive harsher sentences than non whites. For 400 years African-Americans have been telling white America, “you’re hurting me,” and for 400 years white America has rolled its collective eyes cuz it’s not them being hurt, and white America has benefited in more ways than one to the sufferings of African-Americans.

  2. Prosecutor McCulloch is part of the problem, so of course he would protest the DOJ. He’s nothing more than an apologist and defender of the city’s racial actions.

  3. There is a word for what they are doing and the word of the day is racketeering

    I know nothing will come of it but in a just world the mayor, the council and the entire police department should be charged with racketeering under RICO

  4. Since report, I conversed with white male, rugged individual neighbor, who kept offering antidotes of blacks being “scary”.

    End the end, I could only say to him “they’re our friends, neighbors, fellow Americans. After 400 years can’t you at least listen to them?

    During 400 years, African Americans still only asking to be treated fairly, so why is that so scary to you? Can’t you at least listen and consider that there is truth in their protests?”

    Neighbor actually said, “you’re right”.

    I nearly fell over.

    One moment with one white man who may finally begin to listen.

  5. “The protests will continue as long as racial discrimination in our nation’s police departments and court systems exists”. Which means that we are in for a long long protest movement.

  6. I’ve been robbed at gunpoint where my cash, jacket and car keys were taken from me. Not caught.

    I had a check stolen from my checkbook, where man wrote fraudulent check. He was caught.

    My 401k stolen from in MCI, Putnam Voyager scandal in 1990, and again 401k stolen during Wall St. scam in 2008.

    Scam artists have tried to hustle me, my family out of money.

    Seen the Klu Klux Klan in full robes, as well as stumbled into one of their meetings in a local restaurant.

    Office manager of company, declared she wouldn’t use same restroom as her new black co-worker, (in the 1990’s).

    Been told I’m going to burn in hell for eternity after my death.

    Was dropped by Pacific Source health ins. co. due to very minor pre-existing co

    All acts committed towards me by white people.

    Not one single incident with an African America or minority. Not one.

    No, when the phone rings, when the doorbell rings, when I have a “investment banker” approach me who are white, I c…

  7. The protests have to begin at the ballot box. Every elected official in the county needs to be replaced. From there, new “enlightened” officials can begin clearing out the racists at every level.

    It will take a number of years, but constant pressure on reform can and will make a difference.

  8. I know we are suppose to obey the law. But let me say there is no law in Ferguson. There is no government in Ferguson. All you have there is a bunch if arrogant, idiotic thugs with badges and a town government of misfits. Until they weed the garbage out of their that so-called police department, it’s going to continue. They should start with the Chief. A department is as good as their leader and it’s proven that he couldn’t lead a turd into the toilet.

  9. John Taylor mentioned that it starts at the ballot box. He is correct. If the black community is the majority, they need to insure they all register to vote and actually participate. Sitting on your hands will get you nowhere. Protesting in the streets will only do so much and not necessarily anything permanent. The ballot box though can get you leaders that you choose, who will install a police department responsible to its people. Apathy will get you nowhere.

  10. Public service is public trust. Honor and integrity are sacred things that cannot be
    compromised and if they are they are lost forever.

  11. While McCulloch is talking $hit,his arse should be sitting in jail for obstruction of justice & I am still waiting for justice..

  12. Question: Since the victims of Ferguson have the DOJ report, with all its evidence and witnesses, can a law suit be file against the perpetrators of the crimes? There must be retribution in a positive manner.

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