Ferguson unveils racist emails referenced in Justice Department report

Racist emails between Ferguson city employees compared minority welfare recipients to dogs

Local police and a city official in Ferguson, Mo., sent racially charged emails comparing minority welfare recipients to dogs and made insensitive comments about Muslims, copies of the emails released by the city show.

The emails, made public on Friday, were referenced in a March report from the Justice Department that found widespread discrimination in the Ferguson police force and in court proceedings.

The report came seven months after the shooting death in Ferguson of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, by white Officer Darren Wilson sparked violent protests and demands for a federal investigation.

“We have found substantial evidence of racial bias among police and court staff in Ferguson,” it said, citing in particular the emails that equated blacks with criminals and joked about an abortion by a black woman being a means of crime control.

Most of the emails, dating from 2008 to 2011, appear to be sent from Court Clerk Mary Ann Twitty to police Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd. Henke and Mudd have since resigned; Twitty was fired because of the emails.

An email from Twitty to the officers jokes about “insensitive one liners,” one of which made crass comments about Islam.

“I was devastated to find out my wife was having an affair … but, by turning to religion, I was soon able to come to terms with the whole thing. I converted to Islam, and we’re stoning her in the morning!” the email said.

Mudd sent Twitty an email in 2011 that took a stab at welfare recipients, calling them “lazy” and implying they can’t speak English.

“Last week I went to sign my dogs up for welfare. At first the lady said, ‘Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare,’” the email reads. “So I explained to her that my dogs are mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are. They expect me to feed them, provide them with housing and medical care. So she looked in her police book to see what it takes to qualify. My dogs get their first checks Friday.”

A third email showed a picture of black women during a tribal gathering and called it “Michelle Obama’s high school reunion.”

Names are redacted in multiple places throughout the emails. City Clerk Megan Asikainen told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch non-city employees will not be named for privacy reasons.

The city did not immediately return requests for comment.

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