Friday, February 12, 2016

Ferg Got Served By The Feds!

The resentment still exist in Ferguson. The Department of Justice sues the city for inept leadership.

The city of Ferguson is facing a federal lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department. The city was to fix the systematic issues that fueled distrust among the residents and the city police.

The Michael Brown shooting became a national controversy. Brown who was unarmed was shot and killed by then Officer Darren Wilson. The law didn't handle the situation correctly and it led to a riot in the city. When Wilson didn't get indicted by the grand jury, it set off another riot within the city.

Wilson would soon resign and go into hiding. The junk food media polarized the situation. Many in the Black community found that Wilson willingly murdered an unarmed teen. They believed that he failed to use non lethal force and deliberately failed to activate his dash camera when he confronted Brow. The conservatives believe that Brown robbed a convenience store and tried to wrestle a firearm from a police officer. They believe the killing was justified.

Then Attorney General Eric Holder told the junk food media that the city had systematic profiling of residents. The city has a 62% Black population. He said that if he could he would dismantle the police force.

Now that the city rejected the proposals suggested by the Justice Department. Now, current U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch accused Ferguson of engaging in racially-driven policing and law enforcement "that violates the First, Fourth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution."

The Justice Department released a 56-page outline of many of the violations that plagued the Ferguson police.

Some of the most controversial things outlined in the lawsuit were including:

The lawsuit says Ferguson police officers "routinely prohibit people from recording police activity, and retaliate against those who do record.” In one instance from June 2014, a mother was arrested "ostensibly" for a traffic violation after she began videotaping her husband's arrest in front of their children and then continued to record from her car as the police vehicle drove off with her husband. "[N]obody videotapes me," the officer insisted.

Officers sometimes "offer no rationale at all for interfering with individuals’ right to record," the lawsuit alleges. In October 2013, one officer threatened to arrest a civilian who was taking a picture of the officer. "Do I not have the right to record?" the civilian asked. "No, you don’t," replied the officer, who then arrested the civilian for Failure to Comply.

Officers often use their authority to arrest people who use "offensive, but lawful, language" to criticize police conduct, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Ferguson officers conduct stops, issue citations and make arrests without legal justification. In October 2012, police officers pulled over an African-American man, claiming his passenger-side brake light was broken. The man had recently replaced the light, but the officers refused to let him show them it was working, instead issuing him a citation for "tail light/reflector/license plate light out." The man went to the police station that evening to show officers there that his brake light was working.

Ferguson officers engage in a pattern of searching individuals without legal justification, and this "disproportionately impacts African-Americans, who are searched at higher rates than others, but who have contraband found on them significantly less often than others," the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit says Ferguson police officers "routinely escalate encounters with individuals they perceive to be disobedient, and unreasonably use canines on unarmed subjects, including young juveniles." In December 2011, for example, a 14-year-old African-American boy was skipping school and waiting in an abandoned house for his friends. When officers arrived at the scene, the boy refused to come out. Even though officers had no reason to believe the boy might be armed, they deployed a canine to bite the boy, causing puncture wounds in his arm.

The lawsuit says the Ferguson court system "routinely" fails to provide residents who have received citations or summons with "adequate notice of the allegations made against them" or any "meaningful opportunity to be heard." Sometimes, such residents are provided wholly incorrect information about where and when their cases are being heard, according to the lawsuit. "They are often unable to determine how much is owed, where and how to pay the ticket, what the options for payment are, what rights the individual has, and what the consequences are for various actions or oversights," the lawsuit alleges.

Similarly, Ferguson residents who have been arrested "are sometimes not provided clear information regarding the charges against them," and the court's bond procedures "are arbitrary and confusing."
Attorney General Loretta Lynch went hard on the city of Ferguson.
Prosecutors fail to disclose information that could help defendants fighting the charges against them, "despite the constitutional duty to disclose such evidence," the lawsuit says. In some cases, defendants have not been told that the Ferguson officer testifying in the case against them "was previously found to be untruthful during an official [Ferguson police] investigation," according to the lawsuit.

Overall, the lawsuit says, these practices “disproportionately harm African-Americans,” and they “are not the necessary or unavoidable results of legitimate public safety efforts.”

“Rather, the disproportionate harm to African-Americans stems, at least in part, from racial bias, including racial stereotyping,” the lawsuit alleges.

The Justice Department decided to file the lawsuit after Ferguson’s City Council Tuesday night rejected a long-negotiated deal to overhaul the police department and court system. In explaining its decision, the council cited the enormous cost to the city to make some of the proposed changes.

"Our goal was always to reach an agreement that we can implement and sustain with the resources we have in this small town," one councilman said after hearing of the lawsuit. "We accepted just about everything that was asked us and spent a lot of time trying to get this [deal] to work within our limited means, and in the end they didn't care at all whether we could actually accomplish what's in the agreement as long as we just signed it."

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