Just in case there are folks out there who are still clinging to the hope that the Ferguson police and city officials were accused of racism for no reason, here’s the ugly proof of what went on behind the scenes. For starters, we have an email that shows President Barack Obama, leader of the free world, as a chimpanzee being fed by former President Ronald Reagan.
This image, only possible due to the Washington Post’s records request and titled per WaPo “E-mail forwarded by Ferguson’s court clerk to two police supervisors in 2011,” is among the things that Ferguson defenders must admit now. The photo is captioned, “Rare photo of Ronald Reagan babysitting Barack Obama in early 1962.”
“These are the racist e-mails that got 3 Ferguson police and court officials fired,” reads the header to the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and Kimberly Kindy exclusive. The emails were sent between 2008- 2011 and often targeted President Obama and minorities in general. They were sent and received by Ferguson court clerk Mary Ann Twitty, former Ferguson police captain Rick Heke, and former police sergeant William Mudd. Lowery and Kindy point out that all three were removed from their jobs by the Justice Department after they found the emails.
Here’s a sampling, but you should head over to see them for yourself:
In an e-mail that Mudd forwarded to Twitty — which she then forwarded to others — in May 2011, the body of the message declares:
“A black woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital [for] 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.'”
Another, sent by Mudd on June 7, 2011, included a photo of two dogs and compared them to welfare recipients.
Another e-mail Twitty sent both men on March 1, 2010, included a short story titled “Leroy’s last child support payment.”
In an e-mail written Nov. 14, 2008, Henke wrote to a recipient whose identity was redacted in the records, that “we shouldn’t worry about him being president for very long because what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
In case it’s not obvious what’s so egregious about these emails, here’s a portion of “Leroy’s last child support payment”:
The bigotry wasn’t contained to race, the emails are also “religiously insensitive.” This isn’t a surprise, because bigotry is always seeking a cheap shot to help the bigot feel better about themselves. They’ll take it out on anyone who isn’t as powerful as them. They are always looking for the easy target.
Bigotry and intolerance are unfortunately rampant in our society, but they must not be tolerated in positions of power — especially among police who have the power to kill at a moment’s notice. We must not allow judgment that is clouded by racism into a position that is designed to protect and serve the diverse public.
These emails are a part of the pattern of racially discriminatory tactics and behavior that the Justice Department found. The emails are damning physical proof that once and for all serve to blow the right-wing defense of the Ferguson Police Department to smithereens.
It’s too bad that victims of the Ferguson officials’ racism didn’t have this proof when they needed it.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.