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.