Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Officials: US report finds racial bias in Ferguson police

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

A Justice Department investigation found sweeping patterns of racial bias within the Ferguson, Missouri, police department, with officers routinely discriminating against blacks by using excessive force, issuing petty citations and making baseless traffic stops, according to law enforcement officials familiar with its findings.

The report, to be released as soon as Wednesday, marks the culmination of a months-long investigation into a police department that federal officials have described as troubled and that commanded national attention after one of its officers shot and killed an unarmed black man, 18-year-old Michael Brown, last summer.

It chronicles discriminatory practices across the city's criminal justice system, detailing problems from initial encounters with patrol officers to treatment in the municipal court and jail.

More here.

To all you conservatives out there who excoriated the Ferguson demonstrators, who continually exclaimed that the police there were "just doing their jobs," who did everything they could to hijack or destroy the "black lives matter" national discussion, instead of joining the chorus of decent Americans calling for racial justice: YOU WERE WRONG.

Tragically, terribly wrong.

The police in Ferguson were NOT doing their jobs.  Rather, they were oppressing black people.  And they had been doing so quite actively for a very long time before Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown.  Indeed, the militaristic police response to the first round of demonstrations, complete with combat fatigues, armored vehicles, and heavy weaponry, was no fluke, no mistake, not bad judgment.  It was par for the course, living breathing evidence of the Ferguson criminal justice system's dominance of black Ferguson citizens.  Just another day at work for the local PD.

"Why are they setting fire to buildings?" you asked, again and again, in a self righteous tone.  Well, I'll tell you why.  Destroying things is what you do when you are oppressed.  Oppression breeds destruction.  Destruction is an entirely rational reaction to a society that is literally out to get you.  You don't want this kind of destruction?  Then don't oppress people.  Pretty simple.

All of this was pretty obvious at the time, too.  We didn't need this DOJ report to tell us.  It was completely clear.  What gets me is how so many, many white Americans just made knee-jerk decisions to lambaste the people of Ferguson and side with "law and order."  What's up with that?  We're Americans.  We're supposed to be a people who love justice.  And it was TOTALLY obvious that there was GREAT injustice in Ferguson.  But no.  Huge numbers of white Americans rejected justice, and did everything they could to warp and twist public discourse about the topic.

You were wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  I strongly suggest that you all take a long hard look in the mirror and try to figure out why, exactly, you failed so horribly on this.  What made you decide to believe that injustice is actually "justice"?  And, more importantly, how will you stop yourself from doing it again?

Do you even want to stop yourself from doing it again?