City leaders in Ferguson, Missouri have fired a police official and suspended two other officers hours after the release of a scathing Department of Justice report that condemned the local police department for routine and egregious violations of black residents’ civil and constitutional rights.The report, the culmination of a months-long investigation into the Ferguson police department launched by the DOJ following the killing of Michael Brown Jr. last summer, indicated that among other things, the department fostered a culture of racial hostility. Among the revelations brought to light by the DOJ report was that police and municipal court officials sent racist and misogynistic jokes in official city emails.
“This type of behavior will not be tolerated in the Ferguson Police Department or any other department,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said during a press conference a few hours after Attorney General Eric Holder offered a blistering account of misconduct by the Ferguson police.
Knowles offered little in the way of details regarding reforms to the department, which Holder described as “highly toxic” and one that fueled the powder keg that exploded in the aftermath of Brown’s death. “We must do better not only as a city but as a state and a country,” Knowles said. The mayor took no questions during the press conference.
Gov. Jay Nixon offered his own statement Wednesday, saying the facts exposed in the DOJ report are “deeply disturbing, and demonstrate the urgent need for the reforms.”
Much of the DOJ report detailed how the Ferguson police department and courts used the arrests and fining of black residents as a way to bolster the municipal bank book.
Nixon said he’s called for legislators to consider reforms to municipal courts. “Discrimination has no place in our justice system and no place in a democratic society. All Missourians deserve to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect,” Nixon said.