More than six months after Ferguson, Missouri erupted in protests over the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson, the Department of Justice is set to release a report criticising the Ferguson, Missouri police department for racial profiling.
The report accuses the department of conducting discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans and ticketing and arresting African-Americans disproportionately, according to the New York Times.
As a result of the report, the Justice Department could sue the Ferguson Police Department on civil rights charges or pressure the city to agree to a settlement.
Despite the Justice Department’s broader report, it is expected that the department’s separate investigation of the shooting will not result in civil rights charges on Darren Wilson.
The statistics behind the DOJ’s report are stark. From The New York Times:
Blacks accounted for 86% of traffic stops in 2013 but make up 63% of the population, according to the most recent data published by the Missouri attorney general. And once they were stopped, black drivers were twice as likely to be searched, even though searches of white drivers were more likely to turn up contraband.
Fines resulting from the traffic stops have become the city’s second-largest source of revenue after sales tax. The DOJ contends that the revenue has created a financial incentive to continue such discriminatory practices.
The full report could be released as soon as this week.
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