The Department of Justice will release a report on Wednesday that finds Ferguson City Police had a pattern of racial bias and excessive force, multiple outlets are reporting. The report will also detail that police made racist jokes on city email accounts, The New York Times reported.
Ferguson, which was the location of a white officer shooting unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, spurred nationwide protests over police brutality. At the time it was reported that Ferguson police were disproportionately targeting the city’s African-American population, and that finding is confirmed by the Justice Department’s forthcoming report.
African Americans make up 67 percent of the city’s population, but they made up 85 percent of vehicle stops and 93 percent of arrests, even though blacks were less likely to possess contraband like drugs or illegal guns. The AP also reported that blacks were 68 percent less likely to have their cases dismissed by the municipal judge, and that 95 percent of the people kept in jail for two days or more were black. Huffington Post reported that 88 percent of use-of-force cases were against African-American suspects.
FBI Director James Comey recently candidly addressed unconscious racial bias in policing, which might be progress for the law enforcement agency but long-running research and many activists have pointed out that police officers are biased in their work.
Attorney General Eric Holder has threatened to sue Ferguson police if it finds a pattern of racial discrimination. This threat may serve as an incentive for Ferguson police to change its practices.