Ferguson e-mail: ‘What black man holds job 4 years’ – USA TODAY
In its investigation of the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department, the Justice Department said it found “direct evidence of racial bias” in e-mails from and interviews with “influential Ferguson decision makers,” including police commanders and court supervisors, all of whom are current employees.
Several officials “expressed discriminatory views and intolerance with regard to race, religion, and national origin,” the report concluded. It described the communications as “unequivocally derogatory, dehumanizing, and demonstrative of impermissible bias.”
The Justice Department cited the following e-mails as “illustrative”:
• A November 2008 e-mail stated that President Obama would not be president for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
• A March 2010 e-mail mocked African Americans through speech and familial stereotypes, using a story involving child support. One line from the e-mail read: “I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment! Month after month, year after year, all dose payments!”
• An April 2011 e-mail depicted Obama as a chimpanzee.
• A May 2011 e-mail stated: “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 e-mail described a man seeking 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.”
• An October 2011 e-mail included a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”
• A December 2011 e-mail included jokes that are based on offensive stereotypes about Muslims.
Officials sent the e-mails from their city accounts “almost without exception” and apparently during work hours. Investigators found no evidence that anyone was disciplined or that anyone asked the sender to stop sending such e-mails, which were forwarded to others.
“Critically, each of these e-mail exchanges involved supervisors of FPD’s patrol and court operations,” the Justice Department wrote. “FPD patrol supervisors are responsible for holding officers accountable to governing laws, including the Constitution, and helping to ensure that officers treat all people equally under the law, regardless of race or any other protected characteristic.
“The racial animus and stereotypes expressed by these supervisors suggest that they are unlikely to hold an officer accountable for discriminatory conduct or to take any steps to discourage the development or perpetuation of racial stereotypes among officers.”