There are Americans who believe the reason this white policeman killed this young black man is pure racial animus. They are sure that at the time of the killing, the black man was raising his hands in surrender, posing no threat; the policeman shot him in cold blood out of murderous hatred for blacks.Many protesters went to the streets in response to the violent shooting of Michael Brown. They said the police force there was racist against African Americans and disproportionally targeted African Americans.
They further believe that there exists a pattern of such attacks—that blacks face regular if not continual harassment from authorities and citizens across the country—that young black men must fear, even for their lives, from whites (or even, in the case of George Zimmerman, “white Hispanics”) who are looking for any pretext to go after them.
They further believe that the grand jury’s acquittal is based on racial hostility alone. Their mistrust of and cynicism about the justice system is so deep that they are certain the jury did not rule based on facts and evidence, but in spite of facts and evidence. They know that the only reason Wilson was found innocent is the system’s inherently racist nature.
Joel Hilliker would assure us that these protesters were deluded and merely seeing things that are not there.
Well recently the Department of Justice has just released their report about the Ferguson Police Department. Contrary to Hilliker's ignorant assurances the DOJ report exposes numerous problems with the Ferguson Police Department that disproportionately affect African Americans.
Federal officials found that black motorists from 2012 to 2014 were more than twice as likely as whites to be searched during traffic stops, even though they were 26 percent less likely to be found carrying contraband, according to a summary of the findings.Needless to say these findings are of no surprise to those who suffered from the Ferguson Police Department.
The review also found that blacks were 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by a municipal court judge. And from April to September of last year, 95 percent of people kept at the city jail for more than two days were black, it found.
Of the cases in which the police department documented the use of force, 88 percent involved blacks, and of the 14 dog bites for which racial information is available, all 14 victims were black. (Associated Press, "Officials: US report finds racial bias in Ferguson police", March 3, 2015.)
Above all, they said, the report serves as vindication. Their protest chants following the police killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown declared that Ferguson police were racially discriminatory. Now, they noted, DOJ has said they were right.That is absolutely appalling and shameful.
“I live in Ferguson so I knew this. We always knew what was going on,” said Tony Rice, one of the young leaders who became a key coordinator for the protests outside the Ferguson police department. “The way the police treat us, that’s nothing new to us.”
The federal review concluded, among other things, that while African Americans make up 67 percent of the population in Ferguson, they accounted for 93 percent of all arrests between 2012 and 2014. (Wesley Lowery, "DOJ report renews outrage in Ferguson", March 3, 2015, Washington Post.)
But there's more. The DOJ investigation also uncovered evidence that the Ferguson Police Department tolerates the sexual harassment of its female employees and are reluctant to act upon complaints.
However, tucked away in a footnote toward the end of the report, investigators also described another troubling trend: Evidence suggested that the department, which included very few female police officers, “tolerates sexual harassment by male officers.”This is frightening. To think the African Americans of Ferguson are policed by people like this is terrible. How on Earth can people like this be expected to police the populace effectively?
While this fact is not given the same attention as the other issues uncovered by investigators, it is offered less as an aside and more as evidence of larger problems that pervaded the department.
“While not the focus of our investigation, the information we reviewed indicated that Ferguson’s efforts to retain qualified female and black officers may be compromised by the same biases we saw more broadly in the department,” the footnote states. “In particular, while the focus of our investigation did not permit us to reach a conclusive finding, we found evidence that [the department] tolerates sexual harassment by male officers, and has responded poorly to allegations of sexual harassment that have been made by female officers.” (Mark Berman, The Justice Department also says Ferguson police tolerated sexual harassment of female officers, March 4, 2015, Washington Post.)
The investigation has also uncovered how the police in the area are used to effectively gather revenue by issuing fines.
Of all the harrowing stories buried inside the Justice Department’s report on the Ferguson Police Department, one of the most illustrative begins with an illegally parked car. The year was 2007. And a Ferguson officer who noticed the illegally parked vehicle issued its driver, an African American woman, two citations and a ticket for $151.This is a long term disaster.
To the driver, who had bounced in and out of homelessness, the fine was draconian. She couldn’t pay it in full. So over the next seven years, the woman missed several deadlines and court dates. That tacked on more fees, more payment deadlines, more charges. She ultimately spent six days in jail. All because she didn’t park her car correctly. As of December 2014, the woman had paid the city of Ferguson $550 resulting from a $151 ticket. And she still owes $541.
The Ferguson police and courts have come under broad criticism for discriminatory practices. Eighty-five percent of people subjected to vehicle stops are African American, according to the report. Ninety percent of people hit with citations are African American. Ninety-three percent of people arrested are African American. But despite the racial overtones, other mechanisms are in play that that go back centuries. (Terrance McCoy, Ferguson shows how a police force can turn into a plundering ‘collection agency’, March 5, 2015, Washington Post.)
How dare Joel Hilliker insinuated that the protesters did not know what they were talking about. How dare Hilliker claimed the grand jury decision to not prosecute that police officer somehow proved that the protesters were in error. How dare PCG exploited these painful events to insinuate that ethnic minorities will soon launch a "race war" against the white majority which they have ceaselessly proclaimed since 1992 with Gerald Flurry's booklet, The Ezekiel Watchman.
Hilliker should make sure he knows what he is talking about before saying such ill founded words.