DoJ: Ferguson Cops a ‘Collection Agency’

The Department of Justice released a scathing report on the Ferguson, Missouri, police department that describes it as a “collection agency” that exploited blacks. Although blacks make up 67 percent of the population of Ferguson, they were the target of 85 percent of all traffic stops, 90 percent of all citations, and 93 percent of all arrests. A specific citation for “manner of walking” was issued to black people 95 percent of the time.

“These disparities are not the necessary or unavoidable results of legitimate public-safety efforts. In fact, the practices that lead to these disparities in many ways undermine law-enforcement effectiveness,” the report said.

The report also details alleged racial bias and policing that violates the civil rights of black people. It’s rife with examples of excessive use of force and racist language.

The Justice Department made several major demands of the department—and threatens to sue in case it doesn't comply. First, DoJ wants a “shift from policing to raise revenue to policing in partnership with the entire Ferguson community.” Second, police should act when it promotes public safety, “not simply because they have legal authority to act.” Several others demand greater accountability and training to reduce racial bias and "de-escalate" situations where force may be used.

The department said it didn’t have sufficient evidence to charge Darren Wilson, a former Ferguson police officer, for violating Michael Brown’s civil rights when he shot and killed him last summer.