Hey, Ferguson officials! When the Department of Justice releases a report the likes of which this country has never seen before, calling out practices that are slimier than anything we've seen in a movie about small-town corruption this century, maybe it's time to sit up and listen.
Let's begin with Jeffrey Roorda, who isn't exactly a Ferguson official, but stands as an apologist for the racist, dirty cops in his union. Here he is with Anderson Cooper, dutifully repeating sanitized talking points prepared by their public relations team.
Here's Roorda's talking points, in a nutshell. The reason so many black people are stopped by police in Ferguson is because black people come from adjacent communities and drive through on their way to work or whatever. Therefore it stands to reason that more of them get stopped.
No, really. Those are his talking points, and Anderson Cooper couldn't shake him, no matter how hard he tried. Roorda also referred to the report releasing Darren Wilson from culpability for civil rights violations as "the meat of the report" but complained that it was "wrapped in a flimsy tortilla," referring to the 106-page report on systemic racial bias in Ferguson's police and court system.
Of course, he was perfectly willing to toss the court into the fire while standing back and pointing his finger.
But Roorda wasn't the only one out there with this disgusting, dishonest song and dance.
Behold, the mayor of Ferguson:
“There are stories that have been told in that report … that are very concerning, and those things have to be addressed,” Knowles said. “What they’ve shown is that it has happened. Now, how often has that happened? I don’t know. Their assertion is it happens regularly. Based on what? I’m not sure yet.
Here it comes. Rather than accept the fact that their police and court system is in the hands of slimy racists who have no conscience about fixing their own tickets while slamming black folks with outrageous fines, Knowles went on with the excuses.
“Do they have a statistic that tells me that they’ve examined every arrest that we’ve made for the past four years and that half, or all, or 10 percent, or 5 percent are unconstitutional or without cause? They do not have that. They have not examined at that level that I know of at this point.”
Classic right-wing deflection right there. How many times does it have to happen before it's bad? How many emails have to be sent? How many people pulled over for walking while black? Isn't the evidence right in front of him in the form of the increases in collected fees over the past four years? What does he need?
Knowles said he and other city officials would be “going through and examining those issues to make sure that there are not conclusions being based on anecdotal evidence.” He emphasized, though, that any civil rights violations were “unacceptable, and you need to write that down.”
Here you go. Code for "We're not going to do a damned thing until you all make us."
The report stated there was probable cause to believe the police and court routinely violate people’s civil rights. But, Knowles said, “that’s not proof.” He added that “there is probably another side to all of these stories.”
Anyone watching the live video stream during the protests back in August has all the proof they need.
But wait! There's more. Never mind the report itself, let's hear what the mayor has to say about City Manager John Shaw and Police Chief Tom Jackson.
City Manager John Shaw was another figure criticized in the report for pushing police again and again to increase the money they were raising for the city through traffic enforcement. Asked whether his job was on the line, Knowles said he wasn’t going to talk about potential staffing changes.
“There is a tremendous amount of things he’s been able to do for this community,” Knowles said.
Sure there are. Like hiking city revenues by 300 percent by extorting money from black people. Those kinds of "tremendous...things". Right?
As for Ferguson police Chief Tom Jackson, Knowles said he wasn’t making a quick decision. “He still has a tremendous number of people in this community who support him.”
Knowles really likes that word tremendous, doesn't he? Hyperbolic enough to sound great with nothing to back it up. Can we get some statistics on whether the folks who support him are the white Ferguson residents or the black ones, please?
The DOJ report contains an entire section on how due process works for black people, or rather, how it doesn't work. Here we have the Mayor of one of the most provably corrupt cities in the United States hemming and hawing and asking for due process for those who corrupted it.
Every one of them ought to serve their heads on a platter to the people of Ferguson. Cleaning up this toxic mess has to start at the top.