Tags: ferguson | blacks | police | racism | courts | Mary Ann Twitty | John Shaw

NYT: Ferguson Leaders Set to Fix Race Problems Often Cause of Them

Friday, 06 March 2015 08:11 AM

The city officials entrusted with fixing the problems in the Ferguson justice system are part of the problem, according to The New York Times.

A Justice Department investigation into the crisis surrounding the police department, the city jail and the municipal court in the troubled Missouri town found that many officials tolerated or participated in the racist practices under examination.

The city employees include the police chief who authorized arrests without probable cause, the municipal judge who added new charges when people fought citations, and the city manager who was instrumental behind the police force administering large-scale discriminatory practices, according to the newspaper.

The Times noted that, on Thursday, Mayor James Knowles III announced that a city official had been fired and two others were being investigated over racist emails, while claiming that they were in "no way representative" of Ferguson’s employees.

But the terminated official, was, in fact, the city’s top court clerk, Mary Ann Twitty, who yielded tremendous power in a court system riddled with constitutional violations.

The emails, revealed by the Justice Department probe, included a cartoon portraying President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee and a joke about a black woman receiving a crime-prevention award for having an abortion, the Times reported.

"We cannot just leave this region to its own devices to take care of this problem itself," said Patricia Bynes, a Democratic committeewoman in Ferguson. "I know that people in power do not have the courage, the boldness or the persistence to actually do the right thing."

Bynes has become a vocal critic of the city’s police department ever since Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in August, leading to national outrage and widespread protests.

The Times report pointed out that the person responsible for making changes in Ferguson is City Manager John Shaw, the chief executive who oversees the police department, nominating the municipal judge and running the city.

Shaw, however, is often criticized in the Justice Department’s blistering report.

Shaw has been the city’s lead person in talks with federal officials over ways to improve the city. But the Justice Department found that Shaw pushed police to bring in more money through tickets and fines that disproportionately affected African-Americans.

He also ignored warnings that the criminal justice system was biased and needed changing, according to the Times' writers, John Eligon and Matt Apuzzo.

"Though Justice Department officials say Ferguson appears willing to make improvements, they have been repeatedly frustrated by city officials over the past six months," they wrote.

"Frustration in Washington grew as change was slow to come, even as police officials seemed to antagonize blacks by wearing bracelets supporting Mr. Wilson and releasing a video, at a time of great tension, that showed Mr. Brown robbing a convenience store."

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The city officials entrusted with fixing the problems in the Ferguson justice system are part of the problem, The New York Times reported.
ferguson, blacks, police, racism, courts, Mary Ann Twitty, John Shaw
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2015-11-06
Friday, 06 March 2015 08:11 AM
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