Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | McGraw Milhaven | African-Americans | Ferguson | tickets | revenue

Radio Host: Black Mo. Officials Shake Down Cities Like Ferguson

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 04:59 PM

It's not just Ferguson, Missouri — cities across "North County," meaning northern St. Louis County, make life hell for residents by using police departments and courts to extract revenue, and local African-American political power brokers profit by the arrangement, says a St. Louis radio talk show host.

"It's because the blacks who are in power in North County want to keep their power," McGraw Milhaven, host of "The McGraw Show" on KTRS in St. Louis, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

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Milhaven said even locals who considered Michael Brown a victim of racism — in a majority-black city, Ferguson, that is run and policed mainly by whites — complain to him about problems they have with African-American representatives endorsing the status quo.

"Many of the protesters … they come up to me and say, 'Keep talking about this because, this story, we can't say it. We can't call out our own black power structure because we will be criticized, we will be ostracized,'" said Milhaven.

"That's the story," he said, "and if the Justice Department really wanted to fix the problem, Ferguson, as bad as it is, is the best-run city in North County."

Milhaven was referring to a Justice Department report on the troubled city that arose from the federal investigation into the death of Brown, the unarmed black Ferguson resident shot and killed in August in a confrontation with a white police officer, Darren Wilson.

Federal investigators found that 85 percent of vehicle stops and 93 percent of arrests in Ferguson were of African-Americans, who make up 67 percent of the city's population; and that ticketing, fines and late-payment fees to bankroll municipal operations fell hardest on poor black residents.

But Milhaven said Ferguson is a paragon of fiscal fairness compared to its North County neighbors, where municipalities as small as 1,000 people have autonomous police departments engaged in the same predatory ticketing practices.

"Nobody believes this when I tell them this," said Milhaven, explaining, "They have 90 cities in St. Louis County; they have 60 different police departments. That's ridiculous."

He singled out one municipality, Pine Lawn, population 3,500, where a police force of 10 officers managed to write a staggering 17,000 tickets in one year while having 23,000 outstanding warrants on their books.

"Fifty percent of their revenue comes from tickets," said Milhaven, adding, "Their mayor was arrested by the FBI for bribery, and when they came to arrest him, he was living in a different town, and when they asked him why he wasn't living in Pine Lawn, he said his wife is too afraid to live in Pine Lawn."

"In the 21st century, why does a police department have 10 officers write 17,000 tickets, and yet let drug dealers and drunk drivers drive right on by and not deal with the real issues?" said Milhaven.

Yet Pine Lawn's director of public safety, Anthony Gray, has also served as an attorney for Michael Brown's family, said Milhaven.

"This story … has been misreported from the very beginning," said Milhaven. "It's not a question of black or white; it's a question of power versus powerless and the fact that these small municipalities — 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 people — write up to 17,000 tickets, most of these towns in and around Ferguson are predominantly African-American, they target African-Americans, they write tickets to African-Americans, their mayors are African-American, their police chiefs are African-Americans."

He called it "insidious" that Gray "is the attorney for Michael Brown's family going on national news outlets talking about how bad the police are, and he's the police chief of one of these towns."

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It's not just Ferguson, Missouri - cities in northern St. Louis County, make life hell for residents by using police departments and courts to extract revenue, and local African-American political power brokers profit by the arrangement, says a St. Louis radio talk show host.
McGraw Milhaven, African-Americans, Ferguson, tickets, revenue
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2015-59-25
Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 04:59 PM
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