Monday, March 9, 2015

To the non-voters of Ferguson Missouri, much thanks for the tragic civic lesson

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ)  issued its  Findings of Two Civil Rights Investigations in Ferguson, Missouri.

 The report found no reason to prosecute Deputy Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown.

The DOJ concluded Brown attacked Wilson and the witnesses after changing their accounts were not credible nor matched forensics. The DOJ concluded the case against Wilson lacked prosecutive merit and should be closed.

Of course two lives were ruined because of Michael Brown's bad behavior.   And we all know the rest, Wilson will be defending himself legally as well as his reputation for many years yet to come.


However, if there was to be anything good to have resulted because of the shooting, Attorney General Eric Holder commenced an investigation into Ferguson's police department.  The DOJ did find that:

The department found that the FPD has a pattern or practice of:
  • Conducting stops without reasonable suspicion and arrests without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment;
  • Interfering with the right to free expression in violation of the First Amendment; and
  • Using unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The department found that Ferguson Municipal Court has a pattern or practice of:
  • Focusing on revenue over public safety, leading to court practices that violate the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection requirements.
  • Court practices exacerbating the harm of Ferguson’s unconstitutional police practices and imposing particular hardship upon Ferguson’s most vulnerable residents, especially upon those living in or near poverty.Minor offenses can generate crippling debts, result in jail time because of an inability to pay and result in the loss of a driver’s license, employment, or housing.
The department found a pattern or practice of racial bias in both the FPD and municipal court:
  • The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans and that this disproportionate impact is avoidable.
  • Ferguson’s harmful court and police practices are due, at least in part, to intentional discrimination, as demonstrated by direct evidence of racial bias and stereotyping about African Americans by certain Ferguson police and municipal court officials.

 As the report was released more stories have come out detailing the the pattern of political corruption and racism in Ferguson.  Almost unbelievable was the story that the  Ferguson judge who aggressively fined and jailed poor residents owes $170,000 in unpaid taxes. 

Ferguson Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer

The outrage and somewhat irony about Ferguson, was that politicians and police targeted their own black majority  constituency with impunity.  

One reason--- among many---the Ferguson, Missouri political climate occurred was the lack of black community participation in the election of their city's officials. 

There is an almost universal truth about politicians and their bureaucratic minions.   If politicians are not held accountable at the voting booth, they will service their own interests.

So to the non-voting residents of Ferguson, you got what you did not want because you chose not to vote. Again much thanks from this voter to the non-voters of Ferguson for the tragic civic lesson.


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