Challenging police and local government corruption - Aussie Stock Forums

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  1. #1

    Default Challenging police and local government corruption

    Last year the city of Ferguson went into uproar when a young unarmed afro-American was shot by a policemen. It got worse when the policeman was not charged with any offence.

    There has now been a Federal investigation into the policing practices in Ferguson. I have cut and pasted a few examples but the whole story is worth reading.

    In a local context however do we have any similar examples of cash driven policing and how should we respond ?

    Ferguson, Missouri police menaced African-American citizens for revenue, US federal investigation concludes

    March 5, 2015 - 10:02AM

    169 reading now

    Nick O'Malley

    In the City of Ferguson on the outskirts of St Louis in Missouri, police did not protect and serve, rather they menaced African-American citizens for revenue, encouraged by city officials and enabled by local courts, a federal investigation has found.

    The were driven by "implicit and explicit racial bias," an investigation launched by the Department of Justice after the riots that exploded in Ferguson, St Louis, after the unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot dead by an officer last year has found.

    .....The report, which Mr Holder called "searing" described how police officers targeted African Americans in street and traffic stops, and that in some cases competed with one another to issue the most number of citations for a single infraction, and how city officials had boasted that the fines they issued were higher than those by neighbouring jurisdictions.

    It showed how local courts then ensured that African-Americans did not have those fines voided.

    Further it found that city officials sometimes simply closed the facilities for people to pay their fines, then increased penalties.

    Mr Holder described a case in which one African-American woman was issued with two parking fines totaling $US152. During her struggle to pay she incurred further fines, spent six days in jail, paid $US552 and today still owes over $US500.

    He described the case of man cooling off in his car by a park after a game of basketball when police approached, claiming they suspected him of being a paedophile because there were children in the park. He was fined for eight difference offences, including lying to police because he had given his name as Mike rather than Michael. He went on to lose his license, which in turn cost him his job.

    Addressing reporters in Washington, DC, Mr Holder said that he understood why the Michael Brown shooting had prompted such a violent response, even if police had not broken the law in the shooting itself.

    "Of course, violence is never justified," he said.

    "But seen in this context amid a highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment, stoked by years of bad feelings, and spurred by illegal and misguided practices it is not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg.

    "In a sense, members of the community may not have been responding only to a single isolated confrontation, but also to a pervasive, corrosive, and deeply unfortunate lack of trust attributable to numerous constitutional violations by their law enforcement officials including First Amendment abuses, unreasonable searches and seizures, and excessive and dangerous use of force; exacerbated by severely disproportionate use of these tactics against African-Americans; and driven by overriding pressure from the city to use law enforcement not as a public service, but as a tool for raising revenue."

    The report also described a series of obscene racist jokes found on the city's email system.

    Last month the St Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch decried Ferguson's practice of filling public coffers through ticketing as immoral.

    "If you think that taxation of our citizens through traffic enforcement in St Louis County is bad, you have no idea how bad it is," said during a panel discussion last month. "It decreases our legitimacy in law enforcement when they think the only that the only thing police officers are out there for is to write tickets and bring it back to their city coffers. It is immoral."

    Since the riots the Ferguson mayor, James Knowles, has been criticised for insisting there is no racial divide in his town.

    The Justice Department will now seek to work with the Ferguson police to reform its practices, though there has already been speculation that the mayor, police chief and city manager will be forced to resign.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Challenging police and local government corruption

    I don't know about "cash driven", but certain Right Wing governments have corrupted the police force for political purposes.

    Bjelke-Peterson, Askin and to a lesser extent Newman come to mind.

    The only solution is to throw those governments out.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Challenging police and local government corruption

    After reading a few more stories on the investigation into the Ferguson City Police/Administration scandal I wonder how widespread this type of behaviour is in America? Will we see a score of other cities exposed with similar practices ?

    And why has it taken so long to effectively raise the issue ? What is the role of citizens, the media in challenging the predatory behaviour of the local authorities?

    This story came out a month ago.

    Ferguson and Jennings Sued for Throwing Poor People in Debtors' Prisons
    By Danny Wicentowski Mon., Feb. 9 2015 at 10:12 AM
    Some call them America's debtors' prisons. Some call it the new Jim Crow. But for the poor of St. Louis' north county, the exploitative web of municipal courts and predatory police departments represent burdens of everyday life.

    However, six months since a Ferguson cop shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown, little has been done to fundamentally reform court systems that many see as emblematic of the divide between north county's black communities and police. On Sunday, civil-rights lawyers took the fight directly to court by filing two lawsuits against Ferguson and nearby Jennings. They accuse the cities of violating the U.S. Constitution by jailing defendants without checking to see if they lack the ability to pay.

    "The City's modern debtors' prison scheme has been increasingly profitable to the City of Ferguson, earning it millions of dollars over the past several years," reads one of the lawsuits, echoing the criticism that these municipal courts merely serve as money generators for flagging city budgets. "It has also devastated the City's poor, trapping them for years in a cycle of increased fees, debts, extortion, and cruel jailings."

    See also: "This Is What Jim Crow Looks Like": A Day in North St. Louis County Courts

    The two lawsuits include fifteen total plaintiffs, described as "impoverished individuals." Some endured multiple stints in jail as they were shuffled between municipal lockups and forced to come up with fees for each one. For the most part, these defendants were being jailed over traffic tickets, fees and bench warrants.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Challenging police and local government corruption

    I can't see how a city could make a profit from such actions.

    Surely the costs of chasing people and locking them up would be greater than the poor people could pay.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Challenging police and local government corruption

    Quote Originally Posted by SirRumpole View Post
    I can't see how a city could make a profit from such actions.

    Surely the costs of chasing people and locking them up would be greater than the poor people could pay.
    Nope... you have to read the story to realise just how effective they were at having the highest fines, creating the most citations and extracting most money from jaywalkers, people with long grass ect. (not kidding..)

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