Justice Department Finds Widespread Racial Bias In Ferguson Police Department

A new Justice Department report has found widespread racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department, but it's a problem that goes far beyond one Missouri suburb.

Ferguson

As I noted earlier today, the Justice Department released a report concluding that there was no basis to charge former Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson with civil rights violations in connection with the shooting of Michael Brown last August. At the same time that investigation was going on, the Justice Department was also conducting a broader investigation of the Ferguson Police Department’s overall relationship with the community in general, and the African-American community in particular, and the findings are quite damning toward a department that demonstrate quite aptly last year that it had problems:

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Wednesday called on Ferguson, Mo., to overhaul its criminal justice system, declaring that the city had engaged in so many constitutional violations that they could be corrected only through better training, new policies and outside oversight.

The recommendations were contained in a scathing department report that described a city where police officers singled out blacks for petty crimes, even while fixing tickets for their friends. City officials sent racist jokes from their government email addresses while at work without fear of being punished because their colleagues forwarded them to others. Complaints of police abuses, overwhelmingly against African-Americans, were rarely investigated or punished.

The findings will force Ferguson, a working-class city that is about two-thirds black, to either make changes or face a civil rights lawsuit. Justice Department officials said it appeared that city officials were open to making changes that would head off a court battle.

“The findings in Ferguson are very serious, and the list of needed changes is long,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a statement Wednesday.

Many of the details in the report, which is quite lengthy, are likely to be shocking to the average American, but probably not so shocking to minorities who deal with hostile police forces on a regular basis:

For example, the report described how one police officer pulled up behind a 32-year-old black man who was cooling off in his car after a basketball game. Without cause, the officer demanded the man’s identification, ordered him out of his car, patted him down and asked to search the car. “The man objected, citing his constitutional rights,” the Justice Department wrote. “In response, the officer arrested the man, reportedly at gunpoint, charging him with eight violations of Ferguson’s municipal code.”

The report found that Ferguson, a city of about 21,000, had abandoned any attempt at establishing relations with the community in favor of a strategy of making money through law enforcement. Fines are a major revenue source for the city, and the local courts were used to extract money. “Everything’s about the courts,” one Ferguson officer told federal investigators. “The court’s enforcement priorities are money.”

The Justice Department called for an entirely new approach, one built upon community policing. That will require new work schedules and a focus on crime prevention and community outreach. Federal authorities said that Ferguson must change the way it stops, searches and arrests people. Over the past two years, blacks accounted for 85 percent of all traffic stops, 90 percent of tickets and 93 percent of arrests. In cases like jaywalking, which often hinge on police discretion, blacks accounted for 95 percent of all arrests.

The Justice Department also called for closer scrutiny when the police use force, for better training of officers and for closer supervision.

There’s a fairly detailed summary of some of the report’s more shocking findings that has been compiled but ABC News, but suffice it to say that there is clear evidence of not only racial bias on a casual basis by members of the Ferguson police force but that the laws of the city seem to be designed to have the harshest impact possible on the city’s poorest residents, the vast majority of whom are African-American. Most of these ordinances don’t target actual violent crime but rather the same sort of “quality of life” crimes that police departments in major cities such as New York City have been more aggressive in enforcing in recent years, most particularly against minorities. Some of the statistics from the report are really quite telling. The report also details specific instances of racial bias inside the department such as the trading of blatantly racist email jokes about the President and others, and the mocking of members of the local minority community. Given the fact that the Ferguson Police Department was, until quite recently, exclusively white notwithstanding the fact that the community itself was becoming more and more African-American over time to the point where it is now 67% African-American.  But perhaps the best way of showing just how bad the situation in Ferguson has been is by looking at the statistics, which show things like following:

  • 85% of the vehicle stops conducted by Ferguson officers were of cars driven by African-Americans;
  • 93% of the arrests made were of African-Americans;
  • 88% of the recorded uses of force by Ferguson officers were against African-Americans;
  • 92% of the cases in which warrants were issued involved African-American defendants;
  • 95% of the cases where someone spent two or more days in jail involved African-American defendants; and,
  • 100% of the cases involving the use of police dogs against suspects involved African-Americans

While the statistics themselves don’t prove the existence of racial bias, taken together with the other evidence uncovered by the investigation they paint a portrait of a police department that seemed to be clearly and disproportionately targeting the African-American community in Ferguson largely because they thought they could get away with. Up until the shooting of Michael Brown and the events that followed, that’s exactly what happened.

The reality, of course, is that this news about Ferguson shouldn’t be all that surprising. That isn’t because Ferguson itself is a particularly racist community, but because it mirrors things that minorities in all types of communities across the United States have been saying for years about the disproportionate manner in which they have been treated regardless of their social class. That, I think, is why the shooting of Michael Brown, along with cases such as the Eric Garner case in New York and the Tamir Rice case in Cleveland, have resonated so strongly across the country. It rises above the facts of those individual case and points toward what many African-Americans clearly feel to be a widespread racial bias problem in law enforcement that usually isn’t talked about in the mainstream media. Indeed, while this report only focuses on one small town outside St. Louis, it’s hard to believe that similar examples of this type of behavior could not be found in big and small departments across America on a regular basis. The only reason the story has gotten this much attention is because a young African-American man was shot and killed, which caused the people of Ferguson to rise up in protest over what they saw as just the latest example of a police department that had been treating them harshly for years. If that hadn’t happened, or if the national media had ignored the protests, then none of this would have come to light. One has to wonder how many more Ferguson’s are out there.

Depending on how the city responds to this report, the next steps in this investigation could be varied. Ultimately, the most likely outcome is the appointment of Federal monitor who will be in charge of putting in place reforms in how the department operates. This has been done in many large city departments in the past, but rarely has it happened in such a small jurisdiction. Whether it happens voluntarily or as the result of the order of Federal District Court Judge, though, depends on whether or not the leaders of Ferguson finally decide to face the reality of what has happened to their community.

Here’s the report:

DOJ Ferguson Police Dept. Report by Doug Mataconis

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Race and Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Washington lawyer says:

    It’s hard to gauge the exact extent of the problem because the Justice Department used very faulty statistical methodology.

    The Justice Department’s statistical methodology seems questionable, such as its comparison of arrests to general population percentages, rather than the correct relevant pool: See pg. 62 of the report: “African Americans experience disparate impact in nearly every aspect of Ferguson’s law enforcement system. Despite making up 67% of the population, African Americans accounted for 85% of FPD’s traffic stops . . .”

    But the Supreme Court has rejected crude comparisons with the general “population” even in most disparate impact cases, such as in Watson v. Fort Worth Bank & Trust, 487 U.S. 977, 992 (1988). And it has called into question whether Justice Department disparate impact regulations are even valid, in Alexander v. Sandoval (2001), and said that intentional discrimination must be shown to violate the Title VI statute itself.

    Racial disproportionality in arrests or convictions does not prove intentional discrimination under Title VI or the Equal Protection Clause. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Armstrong (1996) rejected the “presumption that people of all races commit all types of crimes” at the same rate, which is “contradicted by” reality. Blacks commit nearly half of America’s murders, according to the FBI, even though they are only 13% of the population, according to the Census Bureau.

    Similarly, the Seventh Circuit court of appeals not only ruled that racial imbalances in student suspensions for crimes or other infractions do not prove racism, but struck down as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause a court decree that had banned a school district from having a higher suspension rate for blacks than for whites, because it is well-known that the crime rate is higher among blacks than among whites. See People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, 111 F.3d 528 (7th Cir. 1997).

  2. Rafer Janders says:

    Police department? What police department? It was a uniformed criminal gang specializing in extortion and strong-arm robbery.

  3. Console says:

    @Washington lawyer:

    Legal arguments are about finding possible scenarios and getting some jackass to agree with you. That has nothing to do with proper statistical analysis.

  4. Anjin-San says:

    @Washington lawyer:

    So the problem is not racism, it’s shiftless n**ggers with natural criminal tendencies?

    I never saw that coming…

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Washington lawyer:

    Hey Hans!

    ** waving **

  6. michael reynolds says:

    @Washington lawyer:

    African Americans are 2.07 times more likely to be searched during a vehicular
    stop but are 26% less likely to have contraband found on them during a search.

    Twice as likely to be searched, yet less likely to have contraband. That’s a pretty easy statistic to understand.

    Why are Ferguson cops conducting more searches on blacks when they are actually less likely to be a problem than the whites they stop?

  7. humanoid.panda says:

    Ferguson is really a micro-cosmos of the wicked circle of race in this country. Because of the charged nature of racial relations in MO, the area around St. Louis is both extremely fractured, and tax averse. This means that the municipalities that from St. Louis county are tiny, inefficient and lack a tax base, so they are forced to prey on the poor. Now, the poor are predominantly African-American, so, they become the target of police harrasment, that further marginalizes them, makes them poorer and scarier. And so the wheel turns..

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    85% of the vehicle stops conducted by Ferguson officers were of cars driven by African-Americans;
    93% of the arrests made were of African-Americans;
    88% of the recorded uses of force by Ferguson officers were against African-Americans;
    92% of the cases in which warrants were issued involved African-American defendants;
    95% of the cases where someone spent two or more days in jail involved African-American defendants; and,
    100% of the cases involving the use of police dogs against suspects involved African-Americans

    I lived in Jennings for a couple years about a decade ago (right next door to Ferguson). Great place to live and Ferguson was where I did a lot of shopping, loved it there too.

    Also the only place I have ever been pulled over for driving while BLACK. (I am dark complected with kinky hair) One look at my Caucasian features and the cop who was walking up to my truck with his hand on his gun said, “Oh, I’m sorry sir, never mind.”

    And I drove away.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Washington lawyer:

    Here I’d say the DOJ preemptively addressed your point:

    Despite being searched at higher rates, African Americans are 26% less likely to have
    contraband found on them than whites: 24% of searches of African Americans resulted in a
    contraband finding, whereas 30% of searches of whites resulted in a contraband finding. This
    disparity exists even after controlling for the type of search conducted, whether a search incident
    to arrest, a consent search, or a search predicated on reasonable suspicion. The lower rate at
    which officers find contraband when searching African Americans indicates either that officers’
    suspicion of criminal wrongdoing is less likely to be accurate when interacting with African
    Americans or that officers are more likely to search African Americans without any suspicion of
    criminal wrongdoing. Either explanation suggests bias, whether explicit or implicit.

  10. An Interested Party says:

    On other news, water was shockingly reported to be wet…

  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Anjin-San: exactly. We’ve known for a long time now that Darth Bader is an idiot, but who knew he was a card carrying racist to boot?

  12. PJ says:

    removed

  13. David M says:

    WTF is with the small government crowd defending the Ferguson PD? If there was ever a cause that seemed perfect for what they claim their beliefs are, this seems to be it.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @David M:

    Conservative “principles” are for white people.

  15. Davebo says:

    Interesting, but wasn’t there a recent speech by a foreign leader before congress?

  16. Modulo Myself says:

    @David M:

    Small government is about keeping reality out, and making everyone else do what you say.

  17. Modulo Myself says:

    The stuff about contraband really pisses me off. What’s contraband? It’s a joint that a guy who has busted his ass off all day at some minimum wage job wants to smoke when he gets home. Of course, once you find this ‘contraband’ he gets a criminal record meaning that he’s basically at the mercy of the most exploitative employers out there. In a certain sense, Holder can go —k himself, because the statistics don’t tell even begin to hint at how vicious and necessary the predation is.

  18. Hal_10000 says:

    You should check out the report Radley Balko did months ago. In the St. Louis area, you have a million tiny municipalities. Just driving to work can take you through a dozen. The tax base can’t possibly support that many little governments. So they are supporting themselves by issuing massive numbers of tickets and then adding massive fines on for those who fail to show up for court. This is even happening in a town controlled by black politicians: the math of the situation forces it on them.The only way out, it seems, would be to merge a lot of these small municipalities but, of course, no one wants to vote themselves out of power.

    So what you have is a massive thirst for money from tiny municipal governments and the only way to get it is by law enforcement being ridiculously aggressive in arresting and fining people. And the municipalities don’t really care if they’re going after black people disproportionately as long as the money rolls in. Their favorite targets, in fact, are poor people who can’t fight in court and are more likely to miss court dates and incur bigger fines.

  19. DrDaveT says:

    That isn’t because Ferguson itself is a particularly racist community

    Yes, it is. Not uniquely racist, by a long shot, but particularly racist. The tragedy is that there are so many “particularly racist” communities still out there, where not only the private attitudes of the residents are racist, but the entrenched policies of the local government are racist.

  20. Jeremy R says:

    @David M:

    Try sorting the comment sections at the two articles Doug linked by popularity. There’s a pretty stark difference between what’s highly upvoted at the NYT vs ABC News.

  21. James P says:

    @Washington lawyerYou’re using facts, evidence, deductive reasoning, and an evidence based approach. That’s racist! 🙂

    That’s a simplified facsimile of the what the liberal response to your well reasoned argument will be.

  22. JKB says:

    Interesting. The elected government in Ferguson actually doesn’t have any real power. The power to hire, fire, and direct the police department rests with the City Manager, John Shaw.

    I wonder how many other municipalities with deep racial bias problems are similarly run by this cabal of “professional” city managers? with the elected representatives being mostly window dressing.

  23. Murray says:

    @James P: There already were several replies to WL when you posted your comment.

    Addressing them rather than indulging in wild ass speculation would have been a better way to demonstrate your attachment to facts and deductive reasoning.

  24. superdestroyer says:

    @James P:

    What is amazing is if the same statistical comparisons were made in places like Washington, DC, the results would be worse. What everyone should be asking is what city or municipality (that has a sizable african-american population) would Attorney General Holder use as an example of the right way to go thing.

    Of course, this is the same attorney general who wants schools to use racial quotas when suspending students. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/holder-duncan-announce-national-guidelines-on-school-discipline/2014/01/08/436c5a5e-7899-11e3-8963-b4b654bcc9b2_story.html

    Does anyone really believe that Ferguson will be better off when the few remaining whites move out of the city and it is 100% black with a local government dominated by blacks?

  25. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    I wonder how many other municipalities with deep racial bias problems are similarly run by this cabal of “professional” city managers? with the elected representatives being mostly window dressing.

    This is something worth discussing, but I’m not sure “professional city managers” correlate so cleanly with the kind of unaccountability you’re talking about. Indeed, it might be the opposite. Elected representatives can’t do everything, so they delegate these administrative tasks (the hiring and firing of police officers, etc) to the city manager, who presumably serves at their pleasure. Delegating tasks doesn’t make one window dressing.

    And truth is that cities of a certain size need a “professional” manager. We’re talking about managing budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, payrolls with thousands of people. We’re going to leave that to the elected representatives?

  26. Just Me says:

    Hal brought up what I was with regard to revenue raising.

    IMO there seems to be a racial problem in the city. I always thought the police handled much of the fall out post shooting poorly. Even if Wilson was 100% justified in what he did, the police seemed to create an environment that led to what followed. I suspect that things blew up because there was already some perceived injustice with regard to race in the community.

  27. superdestroyer says:

    @James Pearce:

    According to wikipedia, about 40% of cities in the U.S. use the council-manager system http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council%E2%80%93manager_government Using a city manager was considered a progressive idea at one time.

    I guess people have forgotten that this issue came up in 2012 when right-of-center writers were pointing out that Juan Castro, current secretary of HUD, has very little power as major of San Antonio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Antonio#Government

  28. Kari Q says:

    @Just Me:

    I agree with you almost entirely. I don’t think that any city would erupt into civil disobedience and rioting over a single shooting, even if the officer was entirely in the wrong. The intensity of the reaction strongly suggests a long standing disconnect between the community and the police that are supposed to serve them, even if one knows nothing else about the situation.

    The way the Ferguson PD handled the situation made it clear to me that the community’s perception of bias and disregard for the value of the community were accurate.

  29. Tyrell says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Statistics are also high of getting pulled over if you are driving a red car. I was pulled over a lot when I drove a red ’72 Pontiac GTO. Most of the time it was for the tired old “equipment check” story. Now if you are a woman driving a red car the chances even increase ! Once they saw I was not a woman, they sent me on my way. Some wanted to see the motor. I remember one even telling me “that car sounds great. What kind of pipes you got ?”

  30. Neil Hudelson says:
  31. Electroman says:

    @Hal_10000: Yes, indeed. My late father used the power of the press to essentially force two small Missouri municipalities to merge, removing a few dozen redundant politicians. Unfortunately, they don’t make journalists like my dad any more.

  32. JKB says:

    @James Pearce:

    If you read the link I posted, you would see that the mayor and city council have a vote on selecting the city manager but then are prohibited by their charter from any direct interference with the police or other city agencies.

    What power does the mayor of Ferguson have over the police department?

    In a formal sense, none whatsoever.

    Along with other members of the council, the mayor has a vote to hire or fire a city manager. But Ferguson’s charter states the mayor and council must deal with “city officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the” city manager “solely through the manager.” It goes onto say that “neither the council nor its members shall give orders, directions, or instructions to any such officer or employee, either publicly or privately.”

    “It’s not simply practice,” Jones said. “Their charter makes a violation for them to do anything other than that. Now, they could meet with the city manager and say ‘you know, we think you should consider making a change in that position.’ But they cannot order the city manager to do that.”

    To me, it would be of value if some reporter was to look to see if the “professionals” run racially biased departments that prey upon poorer citizens. The citations and fines would be a way for the unelected manager to pad his city’s budget and improve his lot. As best I can tell, the elected officials still vote on the taxes the city imposes.

    Always look at the incentives…

  33. Paul Hooson says:

    Racial bias is unfortunately rampant in many even seemingly more liberal governments. In Portland, Oregon I own the largest nightclub in the state, where I sometimes have music events, other times strip shows with dancers. And the local government, police and liquor control commission have all worked to obstruct my liquor license because the neighborhood is largely African American, even though there hasn’t been any incidents here at the club. And, even though I’m mostly Irish and Jewisg, I’m marginally Black as well, which seems like a clear case of race based bias against me where I’ve had to have managers operate the club much of the time because I am treated with bias by these local governments because I book mostly Black music events here which the city, police and liquor board don’t like.

  34. Moderate Mom says:

    From what I’ve read, the minority white population in Ferguson is also older than the black population. How much would this affect the statistical disparity? You don’t typically see a middle age or elderly person walking in the street, or resisting arrest, or speeding, where someone younger just might do something to really hack off a police officer and wind up getting arrested.

    Also, how much was the “two or more days in jail” affected by not being able to come up with bail money quickly?

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @Moderate Mom:
    If you are stopping twice as many blacks and finding less contraband, then it’s a race thing. Period.

    These were not police officers, this was in effect a gang of white guys in uniform engaging in widespread extortion, primarily of the black community. There’s no defending these people. This department should be shut down, and the town should no doubt be merged into some other community.

    It is incredible, yet not really surprising, to find so-called conservatives defending what was clearly, unmistakably, long-term, widespread police victimization of citizens. If the races were reversed there is zero chance – zero – that any of you would be defending this.

  36. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    These were not police officers, this was in effect a gang of white guys in uniform engaging in widespread extortion, primarily of the black community.

    The two main clauses of that sentence are not an either/ or — quite often in America, the Venn overlap between “police officers” and “a gang of white guys in uniform engaging in widespread extortion, primarily of the black community” is close to 95%…..

  37. wr says:

    @Moderate Mom: “Also, how much was the “two or more days in jail” affected by not being able to come up with bail money quickly?”

    Gosh, honey… THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT. Throw them in jail, give them fines they couldn’t afford, then keep laying on more fines for non-payment. It was institutionalized theft.

    And yet here you are, good “moderate” that you are, trying to justify this system of organized crime simply because its perpetrators were white and its victims mostly black.

    The fact that everything about this case actually reinforces conservatives’ worst fears about government apparently doesn’t matter at all. Because its perpetrators were white and its victims were black. So it’s okay for government to act as an extortion ring.

    I’m going to give you a tiny benefit of the doubt and hope you’ve read no more of this report than what’s been in the comments here. Because there’s no way you can read any more of it and still defend the government of Ferguson. Unless you approve because the perpetrators were white and the victims black.

  38. Tillman says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Lately been reading Tyrell in the voice of Christopher Walken. Usually he’s just phoning it in but sometimes he starts cooking with gas.

  39. Tillman says:

    @Paul Hooson: Heh heh. “Keep Portland Weird, But Not, Like, Ethnically Weird.”

  40. Gustopher says:

    @wr:

    The fact that everything about this case actually reinforces conservatives’ worst fears about government apparently doesn’t matter at all.

    Also, the common conservative solutions — cutting taxes and arming people — would make things worse.

    Part of the problem is that Ferguson is using their police department and courts as a revenue stream because they can’t/won’t raise taxes.

    And having lots of guns, because a government should fear the people more than the people fear the government, will do nothing against a militarized police force.

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @wr: @Rafer Janders:

    The same “conservatives” who want to make a hero out of some self-pitying, deranged squatter like Cliven Bundy and portray him as a victim of the police state suddenly start mewling about how maybe this wasn’t really police abuse in Ferguson.

    Like I said earlier, conservative principles are just for white people. Small government for whites, police state for blacks. Tax subsidies for rich whites, food stamp cuts for poor blacks. No serious penalties for businesses that hire undocumented aliens, but let’s drag the undocumented worker’s kids out of school and ship them to Guatemala. Rally-round-the-flag until the flag is held by a black president.

    Their “principles” are never anything more than greed, willful ignorance and bigotry.

  42. superdestroyer says:

    It seems that USA Today is the first major media outlet to look at other cities compared to Ferguson. And, as predict, the arrest rate in over 1500 cities is as bad as ferguson.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/18/ferguson-black-arrest-rates/19043207/

    At least 1,581 other police departments across the USA arrest black people at rates even more skewed than in Ferguson, a USA TODAY analysis of arrest records shows. That includes departments in cities as large and diverse as Chicago and San Francisco and in the suburbs that encircle St. Louis, New York and Detroit

    I hope that the Department of Justices spends as much time looking at the emails of Chicago and San Francisco as it has Ferguson.

  43. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:
    For once, I agree with you. The DOJ should form a unit – if it hasn’t already – that tracks police performance. Excellent idea.

    And then of course: the one-party state.

  44. Tyrell says:

    Some ideas that have worked in other places are more community involvement. Police, schools, churches, recreation leagues work closely together. Around here police and most people are on a first name basis. There is a lot of trust, but that has been built up over time. If there is a lot of crime there then the courts need to get involved. Judges need to make sure that violent and repeat criminals aren’t out roaming the streets in search of more victims. And break up the gangs and dope selling rings. The police and schools can work closely together to keep kids in wholesome activities instead of joining gangs or taking drugs.
    It will take time and work. It will not happen overnight. And Washington needs to stay out of it and let the community solve this. Our community gets along fine with the police. The DOJ did not do that. The community did.

  45. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If nothing else, the DOJ should come up with clearer definiton and reporting categories so that it is much easier to study crime and the criminal justice system in the U.S. How can policy be developed or trends really determined when so many law enforcement organizations do not bother to report their data or report pencil whipped data?

  46. C. Clavin says:

    @Tillman:
    I just tried that…it’s very funny.

  47. anjin-san says:

    @Tillman:

    reading Tyrell in the voice of Christopher Walken

    Make sure and try the Annie Hall variant. Classic.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSRm_X3BLPU

    Now who is the voice of Jenos?

  48. PJ says:

    @anjin-san:

    Now who is the voice of Jenos?

    Shia LaBeouf.

  49. DrDaveT says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Does anyone really believe that Ferguson will be better off when the few remaining whites move out of the city and it is 100% black with a local government dominated by blacks?

    Wow.

    Sometimes the mask slips, and then sometimes you don’t even bother to put it on in the first place…

  50. Moderate Mom says:

    @michael reynolds: Your obnoxiousness never ceases to amaze me. I didn’t defend anything, I asked how age and racial demographics might have affected some of the statistics set forth in the report. That’s all. And age would certainly be a factor to some degree. I certainly didn’t offer an opinion as to whether or not I agreed with the report (which, in some instances, I do without reservation), you just assumed that I disagreed with the report and was defending the police department. You have absolutely no idea of what my opinion on this report might be, but you just jumped in to let me know how wrong I was.

    Get off your damn high horse and stop making assumptions, and making them in such a rude manner, as you always seem to, even to the blog’s contributors. You really need to work on your people skills, because they’re really lacking. You always seem to come off as rude and arrogant unless someone follows your beliefs or line of thinking exactly. The old adage that you catch more flies with honey than sugar is a truism for a reason. The only way to get people to come around to your way of thinking is to persuade them, and flinging insults and sarcasm shows you’re not very good at that.

    Now, if you’d like to address the question I asked, rather than bringing up something else in the report that I never even addressed, great. Have at it. Otherwise, please just don’t respond.

  51. michael reynolds says:

    @Moderate Mom:
    You know what? You’re right. I’ve been in aszhole mode a bit. I’m writing something way outside my comfort zone and I’m cranky. I will provide honey.

  52. Moderate Mom says:

    @wr: Same thing. I didn’t defend the actions of the police department in any way, shape or form. I asked about how demographics might affect some of the statistics that the report lays out.

    There is a reason that that my automobile insurance is less expensive than my unmarried twenty something son’s. The insurance industry has determinted that as an older, married woman, I am less likely to have an accident. There’s also a reason my son’s annual life insurance premium is less expensive than mine. They’re betting that the odds of my dying of something is higher than his.

    From what I have read, and I do not know that it is accurate, is that the remaining white population of Ferguson is older than the black population of Ferguson. Seems to me that this could possibly affect things like police stops. That’s why I asked what I though was a legitimate question.

  53. Moderate Mom says:

    @michael reynolds: Thank you. Hope things get better for you soon.

  54. bill says:

    so 2/3’s of this burg is aa-of course they’ll be the majority of the trouble, maybe they raise the bar a bit but none of us live there let alone should we assume they’ll only do 2/3’s of the crime. heck, look at nyc’s stats if you wanna compare.

  55. Modulo Myself says:

    You don’t typically see a middle age or elderly person walking in the street, or resisting arrest, or speeding, where someone younger just might do something to really hack off a police officer and wind up getting arrested.

    Middle-aged black men get f–ed with all the time by the police for being black. And what are these things that younger people did to hack off officers? Sit inside a car? Play basketball? Walk down the street and not be completely pliant as they’re hassled?

  56. anjin-san says:

    You don’t typically see a middle age or elderly person walking in the street, or resisting arrest, or speeding, where someone younger just might do something to really hack off a police officer and wind up getting arrested.

    Let’s see how a 70 year old black man who is a veteran, who has never had trouble with the law, who is doing nothing, repeat nothing wrong gets treated by the police in America.

    Video shows Seattle cop arresting elderly black man using golf club as cane

    Black folks get fu*ked by the police in this country every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  57. anjin-san says:

    GOP leaders to skip Selma event

    Scores of U.S. lawmakers are converging on tiny Selma, Alabama, for a large commemoration of a civil rights anniversary. But their ranks don’t include a single member of House Republican leadership — a point that isn’t lost on congressional black leaders.
    None of the top leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group — will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/gop-leaders-to-skip-selma-event-115801.html#ixzz3Ta39yAFK

    I know I am shocked. You don’t have to look far to know who acts as enablers for racist cops.

  58. anjin-san says:

    BTW, GW Bush will be at the Selma event. Good for him.

  59. Crusty Dem says:

    @anjin-san:

    And if you’d like (more) reason for pessimism, that arrest occurred in a department after 3-4 years of Justice Department oversight. Sadly, the Seattle PD remains deeply troubled.

    It’s almost like these problems are not the results of unusually poor management or strange circumstances and rather endemic to a society with deep racial issues. But then I remember that we have a black president so we’re officially a post-racial society. Whew!

  60. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: The glories of federalism and local control mitigate against this policy (seriously, the only for the DOJ to impose such standards on local police is by threatening to withold federal funds, and the Supreme Court just found this unacceptable coerction of the states).

  61. C. Clavin says:

    295,000 new jobs in February.
    The last three months have averaged 288,000.
    Big jump in home construction — which is a great sign for continued recovery.

  62. superdestroyer says:

    @DrDaveT:

    The issue is that there are already suburbs in the St Louis area that have gone through the transition from majority white to majority black to ending up virtually all black. The question is whether the black residents of Ferguson Mo will be better off now that they are living in a town on the pathway of being another East St Louis where the population is 98% black and over 40% of the population lives below the poverty line.

    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1722255.html

  63. Barry says:

    @David M: “WTF is with the small government crowd defending the Ferguson PD? If there was ever a cause that seemed perfect for what they claim their beliefs are, this seems to be it.”

    For all practical purposes, there is no ‘small government crowd’ in the US. Most of the people who claim that are happy to grab every benefit from the government that they can, and happy to use the government to hurt those they don’t like.

  64. Barry says:

    @Moderate Mom: “From what I’ve read, the minority white population in Ferguson is also older than the black population. How much would this affect the statistical disparity?”

    What part of ‘blacks are searched more often, despite whites being found with contraband more often’ do you not understand?

  65. Barry says:

    @Moderate Mom: ” I didn’t defend anything, I asked how age and racial demographics might have affected some of the statistics set forth in the report. That’s all.”

    You’re lying. And you asked about demographics despite those being mentioned in the report.

  66. gVOR08 says:

    I don’t see any reason to dump on @Moderate Mom: for raising a valid point on the statistics. On the other hand, as Hillary said, “What difference does it make?” OK the statistics are questionable. OK, the Ferguson cops may also be ageist, classist, and sexist. It doesn’t change the fact that the Ferguson cops are racist asshats running an extortion racket.

  67. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Moderate Mom: Specious logic as best–for one, there is no subjectivity in auto insurance, either the car was damaged or it wasn’t. The damaged party SELF-REPORTS to the insurance company. There aren’t patrols of insurance adjusters combing the streets looking for car damages and reporting back to the Insurance company who in turn raise the insurance rates for customers. An apt Insurance parallel would be patrols of insurance adjusters exclusively looking for damage on cars driven by blacks and in turn raising rates because each newly discovered nick, scratch, or dent….. THEN having the Insurance company turn around and use their accident statistics to justify further and increased scrutiny of the cars driven by blacks because–that’s where we are finding most of the damages according to the “statistics”.

    Lifestyle crimes occur where the police decide to look for it–in places with poor, politically isolated demographics–which most often happens to be people of color.

  68. Blue Galangal says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    DC cops, elderly black handyman, white lawyer

    In addition, I come to this site for the sorts of comments I get from Michael Reynolds and many others, who tells it like it is, not this mealymouthed “both sides do it” schtick. As a long time observer, you hide behind your “reasonable” facade but it’s very clear where your “moderate” beliefs lie: somewhere over there between Palin and Putin.

  69. superdestroyer says:

    A better analysis would be to compare the ratio of male to female, and then retired to middle aged to 20 something to teenagers. Then to do a nested analysis of black males to white males, black female to white females, the white teens (if there are any) to black teens.

    If racism is the only factor, the then the ratio of white to blacks will be the same across gender, age, or even income. However, if the situation is more complicated, then the some ratios will be very close, such as elderly blacks to elderly whites, and some will be much greater than the overage ratio such as black teens to white teens.

  70. Rafer Janders says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    From what I’ve read, the minority white population in Ferguson is also older than the black population. How much would this affect the statistical disparity? You don’t typically see a middle age or elderly person walking in the street, or resisting arrest, or speeding, where someone younger just might do something to really hack off a police officer and wind up getting arrested.

    Here’s how the Ferguson PD treated the elderly:

    A 90-year-old man had a warrant issued for his arrest after he failed to timely pay the five citations FPD issued to him during a single traffic stop in 2013. An 83-year-old man had a warrant issued against him when he failed to timely resolve his Derelict Auto violation. A 67-year-old woman told us she was stopped and arrested by a Ferguson police officer for an outstanding warrant for failure to pay a trash-removal citation. She did not know about the warrant until her arrest, and the court ultimately charged her $1,000 in fines, which she continues to pay off in $100 monthly increments despite being on a limited, fixed income. We have heard similar stories from dozens of other individuals and have reviewed court records documenting many additional instances of similarly harsh penalties, often for relatively minor violations.

  71. wr says:

    @Rafer Janders: Well, sure, but these are all Bad Guys. Because they Broke The Law. So they deserve whatever they get.

    At least SD is an honest racist. It’s the mealy-mouthed “but looooook at the statistics” types who are truly appalling — they’ll do anything to make sure they don’t have to acknowldege the truth, which would require them to admit what they are…

  72. David M says:

    Is it impolite to remind everyone there is a national political party that refuses to ever raise taxes and adequately fund government? Seems hard to separate the tax cutting religion from the end result in Ferguson.