Wednesday, March 11, 2015
"The Injustice the DOJ Uncovered in Ferguson Wasn't Racism"
“The Injustice the DOJ Uncovered in Ferguson Wasn’t Racism” is the title of an article written by Ian Tuttle of the National Review.
The article objects to the widespread conclusion that the Ferguson Police Department is systemically racist. Tuttle claims that the DOJ Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department presents biased statistics such as the "disparate impact criterion"-- the choice to present the number of police interactions with African American citizens comparative to the whole African American population, rather than the number of African Americans who are found in violation of the law.
However, Tuttle fails to respond to the witness testimonies of racially motivated stops or to explain the disproportionate use of force against African Americans—the report reveals that over 90% of police force was directed against African Americans, while the black population compromises only 67% of Ferguson’s residents. The report is replete with other instances of racial bias—implicit and explicit—exercised by the FPD. However, Tuttle chooses to ignore these findings of racial bias and instead focuses on the “predatory government” of Ferguson, or the imposition of heavy fines and fees for municipal code violations. Tuttle claims that policing in Ferguson disproportionately affects black communities not because of racist attitudes, but because of high levels of poverty. While this article supports the necessity of reform in Ferguson, it avoids an important discussion of racial bias in policing.