The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Feds Will Not Prosecute Darren Wilson, Releases Scathing Report on Ferguson PD

By aaroncynic in News on Mar 4, 2015 10:30PM

The Justice Department will not prosecute former police officer Darren Wilson in the August 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown.

According to ABC News, the criminal report stated “there is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson's stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice’s damning 105-page report concluded the Ferguson Police Department engaged in a “pattern and practice” of discrimination against African Americans. According to investigators, “nearly every aspect of of Ferguson’s law enforcement system” impacts African Americans disproportionately. CNN reports that among the findings:

From 2012 to 2014, 85% of people subject to vehicle stops by Ferguson police were African-American; 90% of those who received citations were black; and 93% of people arrested were black. This while 67% of the Ferguson population is black.

Ferguson police frequently target and harass blacks. In one case, after shouting racial slurs at a man, an officer then assaulted him, slamming his face to the floor and demanding he “not pass out.” In another, officers used a dog to attack a 14-year-old boy, struck him while he was on the ground, and then laughed about it. In all 14 traffic stops that resulted in a charge of “resisting arrest,” the person arrested was black. Several officers, court supervisors and commanders, all who are still employed, also exchanged racist emails.

According to the Washington Post, the report also found that law enforcement practices in Ferguson are based on revenue needs, rather than public safety. “The emphasis on revenue has compromised the institutional character of Ferguson’s police department, contributing to a pattern of unconstitutional policing,” read the report. Officers in fact, had a competition to see who could write the most citations. Additionally, arrest warrants were issued frequently for missed payments on fines and used “almost exclusively” to threaten members of the community with jail time to force payment.

At an afternoon press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder said a “highly toxic environment” existed between law enforcement and members of the community and that the Ferguson Police routinely violated the 4th Amendment. In the face of such an environment, Holder said Ferguson was a powder keg waiting to go off:

“In a sense, members of the community may not have been responding only to a single isolated confrontation, but also to a pervasive, corrosive, and deeply unfortunate lack of trust - attributable to numerous constitutional violations by their law enforcement officials including First Amendment abuses, unreasonable searches and seizures, and excessive and dangerous use of force; exacerbated by severely disproportionate use of these tactics against African Americans; and driven by overriding pressure from the city to use law enforcement not as a public service, but as a tool for raising revenue.”