According to a report created by the Department of Justice (DOJ), police officers of Ferguson are racially biased. This report came as a result of the Michael Brown shooting, the unarmed shooting of an 18-year-old, African-American boy, by which an investigation was necessary to determine the validity of the officers on the force. Though the officer responsible for the use of deadly force against Brown, Darren Wilson, is no longer with the force due to his resignation after mass protests, the remaining officers will be held responsible for their actions in the case of racial bias against African-American residents. Wilson was founded not guilty by a court, but the entire police department will face a lawsuit if their actions of racial bias are not corrected.
Since August of last year, residents of Ferguson have been protesting against the mostly Caucasian group of officers for their upholding, or lack their of, of the law. Supposedly officers of the Ferguson Police Department are less than moral when it comes to dealing with residents of a different race. These African-American residents and supporters have been working to make sure their voices are heard, as they express their anger, disappointment for, and fear of the police officers in their town. With the motto, “hands up, don’t shoot,” protesters and police officers have been battling since August 9, 2014, when Brown was killed.
According to statements, Michael Brown was an ordinary boy who was walking down a street with a friend, in Ferguson. Officer Darren Wilson confronted him and the two began to have an altercation. This altercation would lead to the use of deadly force by Wilson against Brown. Though, according to sources, the incident report was not immediately filed and Brown’s body laid in the street for four hours. The facts of the case were always unclear. Wilson states he had good reason to believe Brown was a suspicious character, but witnesses state he was just walking down the street. Witnesses also gave two different reports of what occurred between Wilson and Brown before Brown was shot. Some witnesses say that Brown was walking toward Wilson and some say that he was in the street with his hands up, when he was shot. One fact is clear: Brown was unarmed.
Attorney General Eric Holder saw the investigation into the Ferguson police department. Due to his previous accusation against Ferguson police for taking advantage of poor residents, Holder was determined to investigate into the suspicious activity of Michael Brown’s shooting. What the Department of Justice found in their investigation only angered residents more. According to the DOJ report, the Ferguson Police Department has a racial bias against African-American citizens, as they are involved in 85 percent of the traffic stops, 90 percent of the citations, 93 percent of the arrests made, and subjects of deadly force in 88 percent of instances.
Though the Ferguson population is about two-thirds African-American residents, the high percentages that they are involved with Ferguson police shows the racial bias. The Department of Justice will release their official report on Wednesday, but according to statements made Ferguson police officers will be expected to change their ways or face a lawsuit. The DOJ has reported that they will be suing the Ferguson police department if they are unable to make reform in their behavior.
By Crystal Boulware