On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed African American high school senior, was shot by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. For months afterward, protestors took to the streets demanding justice, testifying to the racist and exploitative police department and court system, and connecting the shooting of Brown with the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and other young black men at the hands of police across the country.
In the wake of these protests, the Department of Justice launched a six-month investigation, resulting in a report that Colorlines characterizes as "so caustic it reads like an Onion article" and laying bare what the Huffington Post calls "a totalizing police regime beyond any of Kafka's ghastliest nightmares." Among the report's findings are that the Ferguson Police Department "Engages in a Pattern of Unconstitutional Stops and Arrests in Violation of the Fourth Amendment," "Detain[s] People Without Reasonable Suspicion and Arrest[s] People Without Probable Cause," "Engages in a Pattern of First Amendment Violations," "Engages in a Pattern of Excessive Force," and "Erode[s] Community Trust, Especially Among Ferguson's African-American Residents."
Contextualized here in a substantial introduction by renowned legal scholar and former NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund president Theodore M. Shaw, The Ferguson Report is a sad, sobering, and important document, providing a snapshot of American law enforcement at the start of the twenty-first century, with resonance far beyond one small town in Missouri.
|Publisher:||New Press, The|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Theodore M. Shaw, former president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, is the Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill, where he lives.
Table of Contents
Introduction Theodore M. Shaw vii
I Report Summary 1
II Background 11
III Ferguson Law Enforcement Efforts Are Focused on Generating Revenue 17
IV Ferguson Law Enforcement Practices Violate the Law and Undermine Community Trust, Especially Among African Americans 27
A Ferguson's Police Practices 27
1 FPD Engages in a Pattern of Unconstitutional Stops and Arrests in Violation of the Fourth Amendment 28
2 FPD Engages in a Pattern of First Amendment Violations 41
3 FPD Engages in a Pattern of Excessive Force in Violation of the Fourth Amendment 47
B Ferguson's Municipal Court Practices 68
1 Court Practices Impose Substantial and Unnecessary Barriers to the Challenge or Resolution of Municipal Code Violations 71
2 The Court Imposes Unduly Harsh Penalties for Missed Payments or Appearances 88
C Ferguson Law Enforcement Practices Disproportionately Harm Ferguson's African-American Residents and Are Driven in Part by Racial Bias 98
1 Ferguson's Law Enforcement Actions Impose a Disparate Impact on African Americans that Violates Federal Law 100
2 Ferguson's Law Enforcement Practices Are Motivated in Part by Discriminatory Intent in Violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and Other Federal Laws 109
D Ferguson Law Enforcement Practices Erode Community Trust, Especially Among Ferguson's African-American Residents, and Make Policing Less Effective, More Difficult, and Less Safe 122
1 Ferguson's Unlawful Police and Court Practices Have Led to Distrust and Resentment Among Many in Ferguson 122
2 FPD's Exercise of Discretion, Even When Lawful, Often Undermines Community Trust and Public Safety 125
3 FPD's Failure to Respond to Complaints of Officer Misconduct Further Erodes Community Trust 127
4 FPD's Lack of Community Engagement Increases the Likelihood of Discriminatory Policing and Damages Public Trust 133
5 Ferguson's Lack of a Diverse Police Force Further Undermines Community Trust 136
V Changes Necessary to Remedy Ferguson's Unlawful Law Enforcement Practices and Repair Community Trust 141
VI Conclusion 163