Fer­gu­son, Mo., re­leases of­fi­cials’ racist emails

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Sarah Parvini sarah.parvini@la­times.com Twit­ter: @ParviniPar­lance

Lo­cal po­lice and a city of­fi­cial in Fer­gu­son, Mo., sent racially charged emails com­par­ing mi­nor­ity wel­fare re­cip­i­ents to dogs and made in­sen­si­tive com­ments about Mus­lims, copies of the emails re­leased by the city show.

The emails, made public on Fri­day, were ref­er­enced in a March re­port from the Jus­tice Depart­ment that found wide­spread dis­crim­i­na­tion in the Fer­gu­son po­lice force and in court pro­ceed­ings.

The re­port came seven months af­ter the shoot­ing death in Fer­gu­son of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, by white Of­fi­cer Dar­ren Wil­son, which sparked vi­o­lent protests and de­mands for a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion. “We have found sub­stan­tial ev­i­dence of racial bias among po­lice and court staff in Fer­gu­son,” it said, cit­ing in par­tic­u­lar the emails that equated blacks with crim­i­nals and joked about an abor­tion by a black woman be­ing a means of crime con­trol.

Most of the emails, dat­ing from 2008 to 2011, ap­pear to have been sent among Court Clerk Mary Ann Twitty, po­lice Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. Wil­liam Mudd. Henke and Mudd have since re­signed; Twitty was fired be­cause of the emails.

An email from Twitty to the of­fi­cers jokes about “in­sen­si­tive one lin­ers,” one of which made crass com­ments about Is­lam.

“I was dev­as­tated to find out my wife was hav­ing an af­fair … but, by turn­ing to reli­gion, I was soon able to come to terms with the whole thing. I con­verted to Is­lam, and we’re ston­ing her in the morn­ing!” the email said.

Mudd sent Twitty an email in 2011 that took a stab at wel­fare re­cip­i­ents, call­ing them “lazy” and im­ply­ing they can’t speak English.

“Last week I went to sign my dogs up for wel­fare. At first the lady said, ‘Dogs are not el­i­gi­ble to draw wel­fare,’ ” the email reads. “So I ex­plained to her that my dogs are mixed in color, un­em­ployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frig­ging clue who their Dad­dies are. They ex­pect me to feed them, pro­vide them with hous­ing and med­i­cal care. So she looked in her po­lice book to see what it takes to qual­ify. My dogs get their first checks Fri­day.”

A third email showed a pic­ture of black women dur­ing a tribal gath­er­ing and called it “Michelle Obama’s high school re­u­nion.”

Names are redacted through­out the emails. City Clerk Megan Asikainen told the St. Louis Post-Dis­patch that noncity em­ploy­ees would not be named for pri­vacy rea­sons.

The city did not im­me­di­ately re­turn re­quests for com­ment.

On Tues­day, vot­ers in Fer­gu­son will go to the polls in the first City Coun­cil elec­tion to be held since Brown’s death.

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