Eric Holder: ‘Some protesters were right,’ rampant racism in Ferguson

Attorney General Eric Holder outlined today the ‘searing’ Department of Justice report into racist policing in Ferguson before the Michael Brown shooting and said he understood why the city reacted with huge protests – to applause from journalists.

In a press conference to mark the publication of the highly critical investigation into the events leading up to the shooting of the unarmed teenager, Holder said that racial bias and prejudice in the Missouri city was so rife that ‘some of those protesters were right’.

While the report cleared Officer Darren Wilson of any civil rights violations in the death of Brown, 18, Holder said he sympathized with the way some in Ferguson took to the streets to vent their frustrations in aftermath of the grand jury decision not to indict Wilson in November.

‘It is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,’ Holder said at a news conference detailing the Justice Department’s investigation.

During the course of their 102-page, two-month long investigation, Holder said that Department of Justice discovered a ‘widespread pattern or practice’ of Constitutional violations and racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department.

Holder said that the police in Ferguson had created a ‘highly toxic environment’ and that African Americans felt they were ‘under assault.’

In response to critics who might accuse him of going too far, Holder challenged them to read the DOJs findings.

‘Although some community perceptions of Michael Brown’s tragic death may not have been accurate, the widespread conditions that these perceptions were based upon, and the climate that gave rise to them, were all too real,’ Holder said.

Holder also claimed that the Ferguson Police Department would purposely use fines against black people simply to make money for the city.

According to our investigation, this emphasis on revenue generation through policing has fostered unconstitutional practices — or practices that contribute to constitutional violations — at nearly every level of Ferguson’s law enforcement system,’ he said.

Holder said that between October 2012 and 2014, black people, who constitute 67 percent of the population of Ferguson made up 85 percent of all traffic stops.

Holder said that some cops would see who would win a contest to issue the most traffic tickets in a single stop of a black person.

The Attorney General also outlined horrifying examples of prejudice.

In one case, a police officer stopped a black man who was sat in his car with the engine off and told him he was a pedophile with no justification.

When the man refused to exit his car – which Holder confirmed he was legally able to do so – the officer aimed his gun at the man’s head.

‘Clearly, these findings — and others included in the report — demonstrate that, although some community perceptions of Michael Brown’s tragic death may not have been accurate, the widespread conditions that these perceptions were based upon, and the climate that gave rise to them, were all too real,’ Holder said.

Holder spoke after the Department of Justice announced earlier on Wednesday that Darren Wilson will not be charged in the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown as it published its report into the Ferguson, Missouri police officer on Wednesday.

Federal officials concluded there was no evidence to disprove former officer Darren Wilson’s testimony that he feared for his life, nor was there reliable evidence that Michael Brown, 18, had his hands up when he was shot.

‘There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson’s stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety,’ the DOJ criminal report said.

The decision had been expected, in part because of the high legal standard needed for a federal civil rights prosecution.

The report also stated that ‘Wilson’s actions do not constitute prosecutable violations’ of federal civil rights law.

Source: The DailyMail

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