DOJ report finds racial bias in Ferguson police
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The police department in Ferguson, Mo., routinely discriminated against black citizens, according to a forthcoming Justice Department report.

Investigators reportedly found that black citizens were regularly and disproportionately the targets of traffic stops and police force. The department's findings could be released as early as Wednesday, according to reports.


DOJ officials also found that the behavior was partly fueled by discrimination, including instances of racist jokes that police officials made about African Americans in emails.

In a 2008 email reported by the Washington Post, a police or municipal court official said that President Obama was unlikely to remain in the White House for long because "what black man holds a job for four years."

"An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination," read another email from 2011 reported by the Saint-Louis Post Dispatch. "Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, 'Crimestoppers.'"

The Justice Department launched the probe of the Ferguson police after a white officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown last summer. The incident sparked violent protests and a national discussion about police tactics and race.

The report concludes that the department disproportionately ticketed black motorists. Those who were ticketed were often trapped in the justice system when they could not pay the fines, and were sometimes imprisoned because of their failure to pay. These fines account for a substantial portion of the city's revenue.

The New York Times reported that investigators found that black residents were subject to 85 percent of traffic stops, 93 percent of arrests and 90 percent of citations over the last two years even though they account for just two-thirds of the city’s population.

African Americans were also the subject of 88 percent of police-force incidents over the last two years.

The DOJ is still investigating whether to file civil rights charges against Wilson, though it is expected that they will have a hard time meeting the high burden of proof needed to initiate hate crime charges.

A Missouri grand jury decided not to indict Wilson last year.

Under Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department has investigated several police departments nationwide for civil rights violations and the use of excessive force.

This story was updated at 4:13 p.m.