U.S. Justice Department investigators found systemic racial bias in Ferguson, Mo.'s court and law enforcement practices, McClatchy Newspapers reports. In a report that may be issued today, DOJ found that African Americans in Ferguson are far more likely to be penalized than are white residents. African Americans are 68 percent less likely to have their charges dismissed in municipal court and are significantly more likely to be charged with petty offenses such as walking in the roadway.
The report also found that the Ferguson Police Department has a pattern or practice of making automobile stops without reasonable suspicion and making arrests without probable cause, primarily targeting African-Americans, and that Ferguson's law enforcement practices seem to emphasize revenue collection over public safety, saddling residents with crippling debt. The civil rights investigation into the police department, and a separate decision on whether to file federal charges against former Officer Darren Wilson, are among the last calls Attorney General Eric Holder will make in office. Successor Loretta Lynch awaits a Senate vote.