An email suggesting that Barack Obama would not be president long – because “what black man holds a steady job for four years” – is among racist messages uncovered in a federal civil rights investigation into the police department of Ferguson, Missouri.
Ferguson mired in sweeping racial discrimination, federal report finds
According to multiple accounts of a US Justice Department report, expected to be released on Wednesday, federal agents uncovered at least two municipal Ferguson emails containing racist language.
The identity of the author of the 2008 email referring to the president was not immediately clear, but the Justice Department report quotes emails between the police department and local court employees, officials told the Associated Press.
The report is said to conclude that Ferguson police officers disproportionately targeted African Americans with traffic tickets and other fines, and that the proceeds were used to balance the city budget.
The Ferguson police department could face fines or federal prosecution based on the report’s findings.
Public attention turned to allegations of systemic racism in the police department in suburban St Louis after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot dead Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, last August.
Ferguson officials to meet with DoJ to discuss federal police review
A second email described by federal agents, according to an NPR report, joked about a black woman being admitted to a hospital to end her pregnancy who then got a check from “Crime Stoppers”.
Black drivers were stopped and searched significantly more often than white drivers in Ferguson, the report found, despite black drivers being less likely to be carrying contraband. In one six-month period last year, 95% of people kept at the Ferguson city jail for more than two days were black, according to officials who spoke with the AP.
The majority of Ferguson residents in 2010 (67%) were black, while 29% were white. As of last August, only three of Ferguson’s 53 police officers were black.