And yet as the report from the DOJ says, African Americans in that community suffered from bias that was routine and thorough, affecting “nearly every aspect of Ferguson police and court operations.”
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Helpful commentary:The Justice Department on Wednesday called on Ferguson, Mo., to overhaul its criminal justice system, declaring that the city had engaged in so many constitutional violations that they could be corrected only by abandoning its entire approach to policing, retraining its employees and establishing new oversight. In one example after another, the report described a city that used its police and courts as moneymaking ventures, a place where officers stopped and handcuffed people without probable cause, hurled racial slurs, used stun guns without provocation, and treated anyone as suspicious merely for questioning police tactics.
The people of Ferguson knew for years what the Justice Department report finally concluded—that the Ferguson Police Department routinely violated the constitutional rights of its black residents. These findings reflect national trends in which African American men are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites. And even though five times as many white people use drugs in this country as African Americans, the latter are ten times more likely to be arrested for drug offenses.
It is about race.The justice system is broken, skewed in favor of the wealthy and the white. And if the stories of our black friends, family, and neighbors aren’t enough to convince the doubters, then maybe the numbers will.
The Litany Dean Kinman wrote can be found here: http://freepdfhosting.com/c2a8d97e25.pdf
As I spent time today reading the report of the Department of Justice on the Ferguson Police Department, it was clear to me that it is not just an indictment of one city, but of a nation broken by deep divisions of race, class and privilege. It is the story of one city but reflects the voices that are heard in cities throughout our nation.
It is, in fact, a record of the lament of people of color in this country who have been crying out for decades and even generations.
It is, in fact, a Great Litany of sin. A Great Litany of lament.
("A Litany of Lament for the American Police and Court Systems ... Based on the U.S. Department of Justice Report on the Ferguson Police Department.")