Mayor James Knowles said this week that Ferguson city officials plan to meet the Justice Department soon to begin working on an agreement to address the issues highlighted in the scathing DOJ report issued earlier this month.
Knowles told The Huffington Post that he found many aspects of the report, which focused on Ferguson’s police department and municipal court system, to be “shocking.” He specifically cited the racist emails sent by two former senior police department officials and the city’s former municipal court clerk, who Knowles said he has known for years. Knowles added that he was troubled by many of the stories describing how officers used force.
But, Knowles said he thinks the report put too much emphasis on race.
“Regardless of the merits of a lot of the things that happened in the report, I think it’s unfortunate that the Department of Justice always tried to narrow it down to race,” Knowles said. “I think there are things in the report that were a miscarriage of justice, but every instance in the report they tried to make it about race. I don’t think that’s fair.”
Knowles noted that some of the stories in the DOJ document involved reported misconduct by one of Ferguson’s three black police officers. Most officers are white, while the city itself is predominately black.
“When I asked the Department of Justice this, they told me, ‘African-Americans can be racist against African-Americans as well.’ I told them that was new to me,” Knowles said. “There are issues that need to be addressed and we need to address those issues, but I don’t think that in our case you can bring this down to the issue is about race.”
Knowles has previously said that Ferguson doesn’t have an issue with a racial divide. But the report found that city engaged in unconstitutional practices that disproportionally affected its black residents.
Source: Huffington Post | Mariah Stewart