Obama Opens Up on Ferguson

(AP) – Racial discrimination from police in Ferguson, Missouri, was “oppressive and abusive,” President Barack Obama said Friday as he called for criminal justice reform as part of the modern struggle for civil rights.
“It turns out they weren’t just making it up. This was happening,” Obama said during a town hall at South Carolina’s Benedict College, the day before he prepared to commemorate a half-century since the historic civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama.
In his most expansive comments yet about the Justice Department’s report on bias against blacks in Ferguson, Obama said it was striking that investigators merely had to look at email sent by police officials to find evidence. He said the City of Ferguson now must make a decision about how to move forward.
“Are they going to enter into some sort of agreement with the Justice Department to fix what is clearly a broken and racially biased system?” Obama said.
A Justice Department investigation found patterns of racial profiling, bigotry and profit-driven law enforcement and court practices within the Ferguson Police Department. Ferguson city leaders are to meet with Justice Department officials in about two weeks to put forth an improvement plan.
The president himself was the subject of some of the racist emails from Ferguson police and municipal courts employees uncovered in the investigation. A 2008 email said Obama would not be president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years,” while another depicted Obama as a chimpanzee.

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