Years before Ferguson, Missouri became famous for the Michael Brown shooting and subsequent emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, the City’s finances were in trouble, and the Finance Director had a proposal to help fill the gaps.
The Finance Director’s proposal, as Priceonomics reports, was to have the police generate more revenues from fines (eg: traffic violations, parking tickets, missing court appearances), warning that the city would be in financial trouble “unless ticket writing ramps up significantly before the end of the year.” The Finance Director went on to add that “given that we are looking at a substantial sales tax shortfall, it’s not an insignificant issue.”
This correspondence was uncovered as part of the US Department of Justice’s investigation of the Ferguson Police Department as a result of the Michael Brown shooting in August 2014 with the goal of better understanding why the citizens of Ferguson felt so at odds with the police department.
The DOJ concluded that the mistrust primarily resulted of excessive fining. “Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs” the DOJ report stated. Adding that the use of fines to fund the government undermined “law enforcement legitimacy among African Americans in particular”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2016.