FERGUSON, MO — Headlines were made all over the Internet when the U.S. Department of Justice issued its trenchant report on the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department. The investigation was launched by the DOJ after an explosive case of a white officer in his twenties shooting and killing an unarmed black teenager as he fled from the officer in the streets of Ferguson. Many were shocked when the Ferguson grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, and many too were outraged when the DOJ itself said it wouldn’t pursue any civil rights violations charges against Wilson.
But the report that the DOJ did put out has uncovered some rather disturbing and abusive practices the Ferguson PD has adopted, as well as a racist undertone from some of the officers on the force. The report details racist jokes made at President and First Lady Obama, as well as a systemic pattern of police officers gouging the citizens of Ferguson by writing excessive tickets and hammering the residents with arrest warrants when they couldn’t afford the fines.
The calls for Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson to resign have been growing louder and louder since the DOJ’s report was released. Jackson, though, decided to try and head-off the complaints by holding a press conference outside a local dry cleaner. “I know there are some frankly disturbing, unconstitutional and downright mean things detailed in that report,” Jackson told the assembled reporters, “but believe it or not, before the DOJ released its findings, we had already begun to take steps to improve our department.”
Jackson said that “we took a good, hard look at ourselves in the mirror these last few months” and he says his department has “stopped doing some of the really outrageous stuff all on our own.” Did Jackson mean his officers had stopped fixing or dismissing tickets for their friends while forcing everyone else into the financial and legal wringer? Not quite.
“We used to do this thing where one of us got to take a dump in a suspect’s mouth, you know, for fun,” Jackson told the members of the media at the press conference. “It was just law enforcement officers letting off some steam. It’s hard work systemically oppressing people you don’t like even though you’re supposed to be serving and protecting them.”
The DOJ’s report found that many officers on the Ferguson force had a combative and suspicious relationship with certain members of the community, which fostered a feeling of distrust between police and citizenry. Was Jackson planning on doing anything about teaching his officers to treat everyone equally under the law, as the 14th Amendment of the Constitution requires? “Oh, I don’t know about all that. We may just wait it out to see how much attention we’re still getting six months from now. But hey, at least we stopped shitting in people’s mouths for fun!”