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Despite a damning Justice Department report that found African-Americans made up 93 percent of arrests even though they only represent 67 percent of the Ferguson, Mo. population, the mayor is claiming the city does not have a race problem.

In an interview Friday, Mayor James Knowles III rejected the scathing 102-page report, claiming police department practices are not racially biased, Think Progress reports.

“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,” Knowles said. “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.”

He also said there is “no proof” of gross civil rights violations, although the report thoroughly details a number of racist incidents along with statistics.

In many cases, officers approached African-Americans without probable cause. Black people made up 85 percent of traffic stops and received 90 percent of tickets. And officers often arrested and held residents at the expense of individuals in order to increase revenue for the city.

Now, in response to creating what many deem “debtors’ prisons,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) will introduce a bill that will make the racially biased police practice a federal civil rights violation, according to the Washington Post.

The Fair Justice Act would make it a civil rights violation punishable by up to five years in prison for a police officer, chief or department to enforce criminal or traffic laws for the purpose of raising revenue.

“The time has come to end the practice of using law enforcement as a cash register, a practice that has impacted too many Americans and has disproportionately affected minority and low-income communities,” Cleaver said in a statement provided to The Washington Post. “No American should have to face arbitrary police enforcement whose sole purpose is to raise revenue for a town, city, or state.”

As the Post points out, the Democratic bill could face some trouble in the Republican-controlled House.

In the meantime, the city of Ferguson will likely enter an agreement with the Justice Department, or risk being sued in a federal lawsuit.

Ferguson Mayor Says Race Not An Issue, Bill Introduced To Stop “Policing For Revenue” was originally published on

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7 thoughts on “Ferguson Mayor Says Race Not An Issue, Bill Introduced To Stop “Policing For Revenue”

  1. Nobody Special on said:

    The DOJ report doesn’t prove racism. It just shows that blacks are pulled over more, and arrested more, in a place that they are the majority, and commit more crimes. If you look at dmv statistics, it goes hand and hand with ticketing statistics. Statistics show that men are pulled over more than women, does that mean that police are biased against men, or that men drive more recklessly? Black people tend to drive more recklessly, so they are ticketed more. If you don’t pay your tickets, no matter what color you are, those fines increase, until they become warrants. Anyone in any city can try this and see how you make out.

  2. Timekeeeper on said:

    Anytime somebody has to write an essay in order to try and disprove racism, you know they have a real serious problem within themsleves

  3. Toni anthony you are a prime example of the problem with white people in this country in their treatments of black people. The Mayor is obviously in denial and is probably a racist himself.

    A reminder America: “Whatsoever you reap, you will indeed sow.”. ” God also said: “Vengeance is his, he will repay.”. Another words there are consequences for your actions.

  4. By John R. Lott, New York Post, March 9, 2015.
    Racism is serious, and those engaging in it should be shamed — but we should have real evidence before accusing others of it. And every one of the Justice report’s main claims of evidence of discrimination falls short.
    The report notes on page 4: “Ferguson’s law-enforcement practices overwhelmingly impact African-Americans. Data collected by the Ferguson Police Department from 2012 to 2014 shows that African-Americans account for 85 percent of vehicle stops, 90 percent of citations, and 93 percent of arrests made by FPD officers, despite comprising only 67 percent of Ferguson’s population.”
    The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2011 Police-Public Contact Survey indicates that, nationwide, blacks were 31 percent more likely than whites to be pulled over for a traffic stop. Ferguson is a black-majority town. If its blacks were pulled over at the same rate as blacks nationally, they’d account for 87.5 percent of traffic stops. In other words, the numbers actually suggest that Ferguson police may be slightly less likely to pull over black drivers than are their national counterparts.
    Critics may assert that that “31 percent more likely” figure simply shows that racism is endemic to police forces nationwide. Hmm: The survey also reveals that men are 42 percent more likely than women to be pulled over for traffic stops. Should we conclude that police are biased against men, or that men drive more recklessly?
    In fact, blacks die in car accidents at a rate about twice their share of car owners. A 2006 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that black drivers who were killed in accidents have the highest rate of past convictions for speeding and for other moving violations. This suggests that there are a lot of unsafe black drivers, not racism.
    Another major complaint in the Justice report: “Most strikingly, the court issues municipal arrest warrants not on the basis of public-safety needs, but rather as a routine response to missed court appearances and required fine payments.”
    If you think that this is unique to Ferguson, try not paying your next speeding ticket. As for the anecdotal evidence Justice offers to bring home this complaint, well, here’s an anecdote from Washington, DC — a town with a black mayor and black-majority City Council. Megan Johnson, a black DC woman, recently failed to pay 10 parking tickets within the allotted 30 days. The city doubled her fines from $500 to $1,000, then booted, towed and sold her car — and charged her $700 for towing and impounding it. DC sold the car at auction for $500 and won’t even credit that amount to what she owes. It’s now attaching her tax refunds.

  5. If you compare the population ration to arrest ratio with the FBI table 43… You will find that the ration of black arrests are not high in Ferguson… but low given the representation of blacks in Ferguson.

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