Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, March 06, 2015

Ferguson, Missouri: a Modern-Day Debtors' Prison

Combine the debtors' prisons of 18th century Europe with the Jim Crow era of the Deep South, and what do you get?  Ferguson, Missouri.

The conclusions of the Justice Department's investigation are beyond disgraceful. The black citizens of Ferguson are basically a cash cow for the city government.  Blacks have been targeted and fined — way out of proportion to their percentage of Ferguson's population — for everything from Driving While Black, Walking While Black, Talking While Black and anything else the local inbred excuses for “police officers” can dream up.  From the linked article:

“Ferguson officials leeched off the black community as shamelessly as would mafia bosses.  Police officers were judged not only on the number of stops they made, but on the number of citations they issued. Officers routinely conduct stops that have little relation to public safety and a questionable basis in law.  Issuing three or four charges in one stop is not uncommon. Officers sometimes write six, eight, or, in at least one instance, fourteen citations for a single encounter. Some officers compete to see who can issue the most citations in a single stop.”

The Ferguson police chief oversees the municipal court.  Ferguson's municipal court judge is appointed by the all-white Ferguson city council, and his job performance evaluation depends on how much revenue his court brings in.

The fines for the above-listed “offenses” are totally out of proportion to the “crime,” and these fines escalate rapidly.  Long prison sentences are frequently handed down to residents who are unable to pay their fines.

The Justice Department needs to step in and drain this festering swamp.  Every one of these corrupt Ferguson goons should be fired (at least).  Incarceration would be preferable; maybe in the local debtors' prison.

For a bit of humor (not that this should be funny), check out Larry Wilmore's skit from last night on The Nightly Show.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many studies done by economist, criminologist, and Law Enforcement professionals that say time and time again that fines are supposed to be deterrents NOT money makers. To use it as such breeds contempt for the law as well as decreases compliance. When Dukemajian was governor of California and tried to balance the budget by increasing fines, they warned him it was not the right way and sure enough, if someone got his license taken away and had to pay like $500 (In 80's money) to get it back, he tended to just drive anyway. We had more lawbreakers and didn’t make much revenue.

Most state and local Governments have laws against quota’s (though don’t always follow it) because people are supposed to believe and trust in the law and the principles of justice. If they get a fine, it’s because they did something wrong, not to line the city’s coffers, or get the cop promoted or a bonus.

This story reminds me of those classic movies and sitcoms where the northern rube drives through the Southern Town and gets a ticket for everything (it’s actually how the Andy Griffith Show started), I wonder if the Ferguson Mayor wears a white suit with a panama hat and a string tie while the Chief has a big overhanging gut and aviator sunglasses (think Dodge Boys). If the right wing pundits read this (yeah right!) This also shows that there were tensions going on for years that just didn’t start with the Michael Brown shooting, how when a community complains and get’s nowhere. Oh forget it! These days they would look at King in Birmingham getting attacked by Bull Conner’s dogs and say they provoked them.


March 7, 2015 at 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Screamin' Mimi said...

I really cannot understand why every American citizen is not up in arms about the multiple issues in Ferguson. First, the fact that America still has deep-seated racism in the 21st century is abominable. Second, why racial minorities and the poor are still being treated like second-class citizens (or worse), is a threat to every one of us.

There are pay-or-appear laws in many communities, and it is the poor or otherwise disenfranchised that these laws prey upon. We're looking at Ferguson, but we should be looking everywhere.

People, stand up and speak. These injustices are being done in our name, and only we can stop it.

Vote your conscience. VOTE. It's not only a right and a privilege to speak your piece, it's an OBLIGATION.

March 7, 2015 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I agree. It should be a no-brainer that fines should be used as a deterrent and not for harassment or a source of extra revenue. I saw an article today saying the Justice Department is planning to issue national guidelines against debtors' prisons and using excessive fines for revenue. The article said the Justice Dept. doesn't have the authority to enforce this; they can only issue guidelines.

A lot of good these guidelines are gonna do. Inbred backwaters like Ferguson -- and no doubt there are hundreds of them all over the country -- being influenced by suggestions and guidelines? LOL.

SM: I don't understand it either. Most governments are shrewd enough to know exactly how far they can push the population without having everything blow up in their faces. I won't be surprised if Ferguson, and the hundreds of racist cesspools just like it, explodes. I'll be surprised if this doesn't happen. The boiling point is approaching.

March 7, 2015 at 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

MO Supreme court has shut the Ferguson municipal court down. One down many more to go it seems. They get their money this way instead of...you know...raising taxes just a tad. Linky goodness for all.


March 9, 2015 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jess: Excellent news. Thanks for the link. The corrupt Ferguson municipal Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer has resigned, eh? I love the fact that he was receiving death threats. I don't wish he'd get killed or anything, but a little bit of squirming and looking over his shoulder might build some character; something that sleazebucket is completely lacking.

And he has a $170,000 tax lien on his property? Throw him in debtors' prison. What goes around...

March 9, 2015 at 8:59 PM  

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