A Ferguson, Missouri, police official has been fired and two others are on administrative leave pending an investigation of racist emails uncovered by the U.S. Justice Department in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown last year, Mayor James Knowles said Wednesday.
"This type of behavior will not be tolerated in the Ferguson Police Department or any other department," Knowles told reporters a few hours after Attorney General Eric Holder slammed the city for a "highly toxic environment" of racism and misconduct. "We must do better not only as a city, but also as a state and country," said Knowles, who took no questions.
The Justice Department highlighted seven grotesquely racist emails sent by police and court employees in a report that Holder said revealed constitutional violations and excessive and dangerous use of force disproportionately targeted against African-Americans. He said the bias was coupled with determination to squeeze as much revenue as possible from overzealous enforcement of minor violations — "to use law enforcement not as a public service, but as a tool for raising revenue."
Steve Stenger, the newly elected St. Louis County executive, said in a statement that he hoped the report would spur the Ferguson Police Department to "address the numerous concerns" raised by the investigation. Cordell Whitlock, Stenger's spokesman, said that if Ferguson officials asked the county for help with law enforcement, "the appropriate discussions would take place."