Ferguson Official Stated President Obama Wouldn’t Last Long “Because What Black Man Holds a Steady Job for Four Years”

More details emerge from the Justice Department’s investigation into Ferguson.

Police watch as protesters marched on Aug. 19, 2014, for Michael Brown.Charlie Riedel/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


New details have emerged about the Justice Department’s forthcoming report finding patterns of racial discrimination among officials and police officers in Ferguson, Missouri. Among the findings is an email saying that Barack Obama wouldn’t last long as president because he’s black and data showing that for years, traffic stops, use of force, petty crime charges, and affronts by police canines disproportionately targeted the city’s black residents.

Here are more findings as reported by the Associated Press‘s Eric Tucker and PBS NewsHour:

  • Ferguson’s black drivers were more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to be stopped and searched, according to records over two years. Black drivers were also 26 percent less likely to be found in possession of contraband.
  • According to the police department’s internal records concerning force, 88 percent of those cases involved force against blacks. All 14 canine bite incidents involved blacks.
  • Blacks were 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed in municipal court. An arrest warrant was more likely to be issued for blacks.
  • The Justice Department found that the court uses petty crime charges to pad the city’s budget. As of December 2014, 16,000 out of Ferguson’s 21,000 residents have outstanding warrants for minor violations, including traffic tickets.
  • A 2008 message in a municipal email account stated that President Barack Obama would not be president for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
  • Over a six-month period in 2014, 95 percent of inmates who spent more than two days in the Ferguson jail were black.
  • Petty offenses disproportionately target black citizens. 95 percent of all “Manner of Walking in Roadway” charges were against blacks.

The DOJ’s full report is expected as early as Wednesday.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate