Shortly after Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson announced his resignation on Wednesday, NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said he viewed it as “a validation, certainly not a victory.”
“The fact is that the Department of Justice uncovered an unholy trinity between the Ferguson Police Department, the municipal court and city hall. And the fact you have these resignations indicates that these public officials are reacting to the Department of Justice report the way roaches react to light.
“That is to say, they are running for cover. And that’s a good thing, because that department needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up. We need to create a culture of accountability,” Brooks told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
The interview took place after Jackson resigned but before two Ferguson police officers were shot and seriously wounded at the end of a Wednesday night protest outside the Ferguson Police Department.
Although the U.S. Justice Department found no “prosecutable conduct on the part of Darren Wilson” in connection with Michael Brown’s death, it did find “a pattern or practice of racial bias” in both the Ferguson Police Department and the municipal court.
Among other problems, the Justice Department said Ferguson’s law enforcement practices “are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs.” Writing tickets for “minor offenses” to generate revenue imposes “particular hardship on Ferguson’s most vulnerable residents,” the report said.
On Wednesday evening, Blitzer noted that five people have now resigned or been forced out of public jobs in Ferguson — the police chief, two police officers, the court clerk and the city manager:
“Is that enough, or do you want more?” Blitzer asked Brooks.
“The mayor needs to resign,” Brooks responded.
“The fact of the matter is, the city manager worked pretty closely with the municipal court judge to impose these fines and in collusion and in collaboration with the police department, all under his watch. The fact of the matter is, we have a municipality that was acting in a rogue fashion.
“The Justice Department report demonstrates pretty clearly that this unholy trinity violated the Constitution, federal statutes, undoubtedly state laws, and preyed upon the citizenry through municipal fines that were confiscatory and discriminatory. We have a police department that engaged in excessive use of force in a racialized way.
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