The U.S. Justice Department found that a police officer did not violate Michael Brown’s civil rights when he shot and killed the 19-year-old to death in Ferguson, Missouri.
But according to its report, the Justice Department sure found some of the nation’s best comedians carrying police badges and loaded weapons in Ferguson.
In fact, they found that some of them should be the main attraction at comedy clubs run by the Ku Klux Klan. They would have been a hit years ago with those fists and club-swinging authorities and citizens at the bottom of Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
Here’s some of their chuckle-a-minute stuff the Justice Department was able to dig out during its investigation of the glorious Ferguson Police Department.
- A November 2008 department email said President Barack Obama won’t be president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
- A May 2011 department email said, “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.’?”
- A June 2011 email said a man wanted to obtain “welfare” for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.”
There are more, but I decided that this is enough to save you from hurting yourself from laughing so hard at the obviously enlightened and fair-minded police in Ferguson.
By any rationalization, with these types of individuals on a police force, do you think these officers may have unfairly treated black people and other minorities at least one, two or 20 times?
You know, the frightening thing is, this is not an isolated case. There are probably people on police forces around the country with racial bias so deep that on some occasions, it limits their professionalism and human decency in their daily interactions with black people and other minorities.
Baton Rouge is on the map, too. You might remember this missive from within the Police Department that was made public last year.
It read, in part: “I wish someone would pull a Ferguson on them and take them out. I hate looking at those African monkeys at work. … I enjoy arresting those thugs with their saggy pants.”
The author was allowed to retire. So now, my tax dollars pay for his leisure.
And, here’s a racist email discovered by the local media that was distributed through government email accounts that resulted in the suspensions of several Department of Public Works employees.
The email was an attack on President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”
The email read: “Effective January 1, 2013, aspirin will be heavily taxed under Obamacare. The only explanation given was that they are white and they work. No other reason was given, but I thought you’d want to know about it.”
Now, do I think there are no African-American law enforcement officers who carry a bias against white people and others? I would be naive to think that. However, it has been difficult to find these sorts of emails from black officers, and nor have I seen fear and anger of black police officers in mostly white neighborhoods.
The Justice Department’s findings show a culture of tolerance for racism by the Ferguson police force. And the findings showed that the force was heavy-handed in its dealings with black residents.
Thankfully, every police department is not like Ferguson. But, there are probably dozens infected with Ferguson’s racist tendencies that are flying under the radar because they have not had a Michael Brown shooting or a choke-hold killing of an unarmed suspect to draw attention to their operations.
The report’s findings show something better needs to be done about the screening of police applicants, along with the training and education of police officers, not just in Ferguson, but right in your own community.
Edward Pratt, a former Advocate editor, is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.