Skip to main content

Police officers react at the scene of a looting at the Dellwood Market after protests against the shooting of Michael Brown turned violent near Ferguson, Missouri August 17, 2014. Shots were fired and police shouted through bullhorns for protesters to dis
Washington Post:
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. this week will launch a broad civil rights investigation into the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department, according to two federal law enforcement officials.

The investigation, which could be announced as early as Thursday afternoon, will be conducted by the Justice Department’s civil rights division and follow a process similar to that used to investigate complaints of profiling and the use of excessive force in other police departments across the country, the officials said.

That's good news, but this makes it even better:
The federal officials said the probe will look not only at Ferguson but also at other police departments in St. Louis County.
Why is it important to go beyond Ferguson? Simple: Because the problems in Ferguson are not unique to Ferguson. Darren Wilson needs to be held accountable for killing Mike Brown, but when it comes to the broader issues at stake, there is clearly a regional issue in St. Louis County.

This long post from Radley Balko explains in wrenching detail what those problems are. In short—and I say that knowing that no summary can do justice to what Balko wrote—the criminal justice system in suburban St. Louis County has been twisted into a corrupt bureaucracy that uses its police and jails to harass and incarcerate poor, mostly black, citizens in order to extract revenue from them in the form of fines. If anyone should be going to jail, it's the people that are running that system, not the people that are victims of it. Balko's report is replete with examples on how twisted it is—it's a must-read if you want to understand why it's so essential that this investigation take place and why it needs to have teeth.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Good nt (26+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:46:51 AM PDT

  •  It appears that several of these small (22+ / 0-)

    municipalities have become speed traps in order to pay for their police force.  That is fundamentally wrong.  

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:55:43 AM PDT

    •  Worse than that... (19+ / 0-)

      One police department actually was able to manually change the traffic light from flashing yellow to red, just in order to fraudulently ticket drivers!

      It seems like most of the police departments in these municipalities are run as revenue cost-centers, to pay their own salaries. It's frankly a bit shocking... I know I'm naive to be surprised, but seriously... it's like some sort of twisted municipal sharecropping scheme in which the  value of labor is extracted from residents simply because of where they live.  

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:14:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Holder may be looking in the wrong place (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CadOps, Joffan, CWinebrinner

      Holder is probably looking for "was this person mistreated / treated differently because they are black".

      A worthy question, no doubt, but the issues described in the Balko article aren't necessarily root driven by racism per se, they are driven by fundamental facts about how St Louis County is governed and financed.

      The Balko article notes that St Louis County municipalities that are governed by black citizens and police are pretty much as bad about harassing their (mostly black) citizens as white-governed municipalities.

      So Holder might "find" and "deal with" instances of racism by those in power in St Louis County. But unless the fundamental governance and financing issues are fixed, the misery or some variant is going to continue because it is financially incentivized to continue. As long as city governments make money from harassing otherwise productive citizens, that is what they will do. Because otherwise city employees might need to find other new jobs than being handsomely paid to manage this fiasco. And no one wants that.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:24:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The obvious truth... (11+ / 0-)

        ...is that racism is both a cause and an effect in Ferguson, and poverty is both a cause and an effect. They are yin and yang partners in a continuous feedback loop.

        So while racism may not be the root cause of every misstep and civil rights violation in Ferguson, it is certainly a permeating condition.

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

        by The Termite on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:28:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's hard to "fix" racism (0+ / 0-)

          It's easy (well, easier) to fix relatively glaring governance problems as shown in the Balko article.

          The police will be much less abusive toward their minority population if they are not financially incentivized to be so (in fact, should maybe be slightly *dis*incentivized). There will still be problems of course, but the financial issues here turn what could otherwise have been "minor" issues into a dangerous powder keg situation.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:36:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You can't eliminate racism... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a2nite, OldDragon, cybersaur

            ...but you can legislate protections.

            Bottom line is that the cops need to be brought to heel, regulated, and held accountable.

            Eventually, after enough years of close supervision, a culture of service can be cultivated, and lo and behold these officers might find themselves developing respect for people of different stripes.

            Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

            by The Termite on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:39:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This will NEVER HAPPEN (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pelagicray

              While the fundamental governance problems remain.

              "You can't get someone to understand something when their paycheck depends on them not understanding it." Per Balko, black-led towns are as bad as white-led towns in terms of how much they are willing to harass their citizens.

              By all means fire the police. But if you don't do something about the structural governance problems you WILL NOT SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:46:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your capital letters suggest you disagree w/ me (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TRPChicago

                While your words indicate agreement.

                I'm specifically pointing to governance issues -- namely unaccountable cops. And saying that has to end.

                Then you say "this will never happen" and proceed to say almost exactly what I said.

                Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

                by The Termite on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 11:18:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't think "unaccountable cops"... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...is the fundamental governance issue in play here.

                  The fundamental issue is dozens of under-revenued/overstaffed municipalities and their various employees and contractors voraciously gobbling up money anywhere they possibly can. They are financially incentivized to harass their citizens, no matter how many cops you fire or how you train their replacements. The conflicts of interest are just too much. Look at the judges and prosecutors. You think they like getting paid hundreds of dollars an hour?

                  Many/most of these municipalities need to be dissolved by state action, and their employees merged into common departments or a substantial fraction simply laid off. Another reform would dictate that all traffic violation money becomes state money or maybe even donated to charity.

                  Do this, or keep reading these stories.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 02:20:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  That's an interesting thought. (0+ / 0-)

        So...crap.

        First thought:

        A place where ordinary practice can cause a non-racist to contribute to what is a racist result would be an awesome place for racists to hide in plain site. Or, at least, to hide until they have their dog piss on a memorial.

        Second thought:

        Do governments ever look at what they're doing, and ask themselves how it will be perceived by different segments of the local population?

        If you're pure as the driven snow, with completely laudable intent, you can be perceived badly if you do some things.

        And no organization of human beings is pure as the driven snow.

        And police have guns and ticket books and handcuffs and backup and the ability to make your life hell.
        They don't need to be pure as the driven snow, but they sure as hell need to seen as something other than the enemy.

        And then there's the issue of yellow snow.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:34:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was so hoping this would happen. (nt) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, joe from Lowell, Penny GC, 88kathy

    Stephen Colbert does superb satire. Pity those offended by it.

    by VirginiaJeff on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:58:07 AM PDT

  •  Hopefully something good comes out of this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Penny GC
  •  certainly a probe starting here is great but i (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ivorybill, Penny GC

    hope it expands to include at least all of MO, West KY, West TN, southern IL and southern IN. AKA the racketeering belt of the lower Midwest. God, guns, and meth.

    Ecrasez l´infame (crush the infamy) Voltaire.

    by shigeru on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:59:05 AM PDT

  •  Good news! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, ivorybill, Penny GC, Ishmaelbychoice

    Fwiw bobswern had highlighted the Balko piece.

    Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 02:33 PM MDT
    A Brutally Powerful WaPo Exposé: “How St. Louis County, Missouri profits from poverty”

    by bobswern Follow

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:59:33 AM PDT

  •  What's needed is a UN international criminal (0+ / 0-)

    tribunal to be set up to deal with these atrocities and human rights abuses, or the International Criminal Court to prosecute.  Not that that will happen in a zillion years.

    Haven't forgotten Ferguson-- never will. Michael Brown: Rest In Justice.

    by samantha in oregon on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:01:08 AM PDT

  •  Lift up the lid......see what scurries from the (6+ / 0-)

    light.....Certainly Wilson has.

  •  This isn't a St. Louis County problem (7+ / 0-)

    It's a United States of America problem.

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

    by The Termite on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:04:51 AM PDT

  •  This is where I hang my hopes. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Penny GC, notagain, 88kathy, a2nite, Ahianne

    Good news! How you can help: Pass along these numbers.

    "The St Louis FBI is requesting information regarding the shooting incident that occurred on August 9, 2014 at the 2900 block of Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Missouri. If you have any information that could be helpful to the investigation, please contact FBI:"

    1-800-225-5324 Option 4
    1-800-CALL FBI   Option 4

    FBI St. Louis
    2222 Market Street, 
St. Louis, MO 63103
    
Phone: (314) 589-2500
    
Fax: (314) 589-2636
    
E-mail: stlouis@ic.fbi.gov

    Special Agent in Charge
    William P. Woods

    Assistant Special Agents in Charge
    Daniel A. Netemeyer
    Michael H. Schneider

    Civil Rights webpage
    http://www.fbi.gov/...

    WA Gov. Jay Inslee imposed a moratorium on the death penalty.“Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility."

    by mrobinson on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:05:59 AM PDT

  •  It's a structural problem (25+ / 0-)

    That Balko article in the WaPo is great. Michael Brown's death is not an isolated incident and it's wonderful to see reporting (and federal attention) on the wider problem.

    Redistribution is not a dirty word.  That's what taxes do.  But in states like Missouri, where the GOP is on the rise, wealthy folks (and the white GOP base) doesn't want to pay their share for public services, education, etc. for the poor. So the basic structure of local government finance has been distorted and jurisdictions are specifically created to prevent redistribution, and then you get these predatory local governments who treat low-income and especially black communities like revenue sources. I've been quite amazed at the extent to which this is happening - it really is an eye opener.

    Still, it's hardly surprising as we live in a nation in which capital gains are taxed at a lesser rate than earned income.  But Ferguson shows the cannibalistic side of American capitalism, where costs are put on the poorest, and profits are privatized and sequestered away because of... socialism or whatever.  And then the poor eat the poor, and the shooting of Michael Brown is seen as an isolated incident. We need some serious wealth redistribution in this country.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:09:28 AM PDT

    •  Your comment says it all (9+ / 0-)

      It's about White Flight and rich (mostly white) people not paying enough taxes-- and there is usually the ugly Reaganesque "Welfare Queen" reason behind rich whites not wanting to pay taxes.

      Haven't forgotten Ferguson-- never will. Michael Brown: Rest In Justice.

      by samantha in oregon on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:24:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I saw your flag (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        belinda ridgewood

        The comment (and thread) will appear in Top Comments tonight.

        There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

        by Puddytat on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:19:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another shift in taxes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlackSheep1

        IIRC, prior to 1970, about 50% of gov't revenue came from corporate taxes. That number is considerably lower now (20%?), even if the 'headline' tax rates for corporations are still high.

        Except for federal income taxes, nearly every tax in the country is regressive or neutral. State taxes are nearly all regressive, most substantially so.

    •  Slavery by Another Name (Lite)? (7+ / 0-)

      Elsewhere I was responding to someone realizing they did not know racial history in the U.S. as well as they thought and should. Toward the end of my [comment ] focusing on the book and film Slavery by Another Name I realized a similarity with the "revenue farming" going on in Ferguson and elsewhere. I'll repeat that comment here:

      As a kid I was like the author of the book, Douglas A. Blackmon, and Bill Moyers whose interview with Blackmon got my attention. I saw the signs, it was all around in my deep south environment. I, like them, did not quite understand the systematic and corrupt mechanism that underlay the "work camps" and "road gangs" (worst of the chains were gone by my time). We all saw the result, but not the corrupt legal system and money deals that indeed made it another form of slavery.

      Oh yeah, it puts a whole different light on questions or fairness, affirmative action and reparations. People that were independent, making a way for themselves, were reenslaved for the economic "growth" or a region and nation. From the Moyers interview with the author:

      They farmed. They carved out independent lives. But then, this terrible shadow began to fall back across black life in America, that effectively re-enslaved enormous numbers of people. And what that was all about, what that was rooted in, was that the southern economic, and in a way, the American economy, was addicted to slavery, was addicted to forced labor. And the South could not resurrect itself.

      And so, there was this incredible economic imperative to bring back coerced labor. And they did, on a huge scale.

      and
      And it was everywhere in the South. These forced labor camps were all over the place. The records that still survive, buried in courthouses all over the South, make it abundantly clear that thousands and thousands of African-Americans were arrested on completely specious claims, made up stuff, and then, purely because of this economic need and the ability of sheriffs and constables and others to make money off arresting them, and that providing them to these commercial enterprises, and being paid for that.
      Some of the stories coming out of Ferguson make that system sound like the old Slavery by Another Name (Lite).
      Yep, take poor people, already struggling, and target them for revenue to support the power structure. Sounds familiar and very nasty.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 10:35:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What are the odds (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Penny GC

    Fox and the right wing media concluded that Brown was a drug addicted thief and probable mass murderer from one convience store film.  Let's see if they now conclude that the Ferguson PD etc. is guilty of lynching, or that our communist nazi federal admin is overreaching to destroy all truth and good.

  •  If Justice really follows through... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Termite, Penny GC, Dretutz

    Eric Holder will be remembered as one of the great defenders of civil rights in American history.

    His Civil Rights Division has rocked on voting rights. I hope they bring that same commitment to policing reform.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:13:15 AM PDT

  •  Thank you AG Holder and President Obama (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Termite, Penny GC, Chitown Kev

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:22:01 AM PDT

  •  Smart to look at broader area. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, kay3295

    Departments don't live in a vacuum. They cooperate and they know each other.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:28:07 AM PDT

  •  Because we all know that Radley Balko has no axe (0+ / 0-)

    to grind:

    Radley Balko has also authored two books on the topic of increasing police force, including 2013’s Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces (PublicAffairs) and 2006’s Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America (Cato Institute)
    His book sales are spiking on Amazon.  Hmmm.

    Let's face it, Jed.  White on black police shooting + Al Sharpton + massive Cable News Coverage = DOJ Investigation.  

    The DOJ is also investigating Bridgegate here in NJ.  

    What I want to see is the coverage is on the results of all of those investigations.   I never see the follow up story.  Is it all to calm the masses, until their short attention spans are exceeded, or does the DOJ really do anything?

    The internet and Twitter have everybody thinking that we can know the truth instantly. That's not the case. We can only know what people want us to believe instantly.

    by SpamNunn on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:28:49 AM PDT

    •  I love this argument (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Theretherethere, a2nite

      Guy has written books on this topic, therefore he has a conflict of interest and shouldn't be listened to.

      Obviously we should only pay attention to people who have never even looked at the problem before, not those who've been pointing it out for years.
      Oh, and the cops. Obviously we should listen to the cops.

      The follow up and short attention span thing is true. Investigations like this can be used to stall until people forget. They can also lead to real changes. In the past, more than one police department has cleaned up under federal oversight coming from investigations just like this one.

      The Empire never ended.

      by thejeff on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:53:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great result of Ferguson, NYPD needs same. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Ahianne

    NYPD also too heavily reliant on quotas/ticket writing, and terrible civil liberty abuses like Stop & Frisk. They're also notorious for fudging crime stats.

    The Village Voice did an exemplary series of investigative research into it, of which included one of the great coups of all-time, in which they were given recorded tapes by an police officer at a Bed-Sty precinct of every roll call, revealing a heavy reliance on ticketing young black men and pressure to bulk up other stats.

    http://www.villagevoice.com/...

    http://www.villagevoice.com/...

    Specifically, if we are to continue entrusting police officers with lethal power I think it's way past time the public deserves, whether in Ferguson or Manhattan, to have blanket video coverage of their actions, including inside the precinct houses. Too many cowboy antics of reach for the gun first, wanton shoot-'em-sprees and beating and intimidating citizens. It's inside when their giving out patrols for the day and talking about strategy (and revealing the institutional racism that runs rampant) that we'd truly be aghast.

    There should also be a serious push to start weeding it the dangerous, violent knuckle-draggers by instituting higher standards for the job. Along with, serious back-to-basics community relations work, setting up regular meetings with the town to discuss problems, AND put cops back on the beat walking the street, which means out of intimidating patrol cars.

    "Human history began with an act of disobedience, and it is not unlikely that it will be terminated by an act of obedience." Erich Fromm

    by thirty three and a third on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:30:51 AM PDT

  •  I hate to say this, but maybe people need to st... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samantha in oregon

    I hate to say this, but maybe people need to start moving ie fleeing this type of violence and financial predation en masse. That's the only way I can see to decisively and permanently collapse this labyrinth of a system. Resettlement funds need to be provided. I know it's a problematic proposal, but if I lived there I might just want to try it.

    •  According to this great Washington Post article (0+ / 0-)

      by Radley Balko "blacks didn't begin moving to Ferguson in significant numbers until the 1980s, and weren't a majority until around 2000."

      So I wonder if the same system would be put in place here or anywhere if whites started saying "there goes the neighborhood."

      It's really a failure of integration-- whites (especially rich whites) just not wanting to play ball post-1960s.

      Haven't forgotten Ferguson-- never will. Michael Brown: Rest In Justice.

      by samantha in oregon on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:37:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where? Corrupt police are everywhere nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne

      I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

      by a2nite on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:49:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes cops suck everywhere, but the system is cer... (0+ / 0-)

        Yes cops suck everywhere, but the system is certainly not instituted in this manner everywhere. An area that has a different funding structure and police force make up might provide an average person enough relief that they can begin to thrive financially and socially. It is a problematic proposal, but the current system deserves nothing short of immediate obliteration.

        •  The cops are a part of the system; all of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kappasweet

          it is corrupt. That is why I call it the evil criminal injustice system.

          Now, there are cameras and it is being exposed, everywhere.

          I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

          by a2nite on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 11:00:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  "Real Americans" Live in the Midwest, According to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    that teabagger dimwit Sarah Palin.

    Williamsport, Pa, the home of Little League Baseball, has a bigotry problem of its own because it's a teabagger haven where the white majority "cling to their guns, their religion, and their antipathy towards those who are different".  The city officials had the city police go to the bus station and prevent court-ordered drug treatment patients from inner cities from getting off buses forcing them to return home.  The ACLU had to intervene and stop that racist idiocy.

    Lycoming County is the illiteracy capital of Pennsylvania and the only county in the state to participate in the federal literacy program -- 25% illiterate, an additional 50% marginal literate, so 3 out of 4 people here can't read write, do arithmetic, or think as well as your average 8 yr. old/3rd grader.

    The 2004 "Fair Market Value" property reassessment done by the privatized county assessment office of Century 21 Appraisals pushed tax burden away from the rich onto the working class by putting land parcel assessments on a Per Lot rather than a Per Acre basis thereby making the largest land parcels the least valuable for taxation purposes and the smallest land parcels the most valuable for taxation purposes -- it was a dirty, underhanded, sneaky, Republican thing to do, especially since tax bills don't come broken down into land and building assessments (but courthouse records do).

    A recent Pa Superior "court" case against the frackers resulted in the appellate "court" ruling that Pa. DEP had to publicly disclose the 243 wells poisoned by the frackers, many of which are located in Lycoming County.  The Party of Stupid loves frackers.

    The former George W. Bush-appointed US Attorney Thomas Marino resigned his job when a federal investigative grand jury was specially empanelled to investigate him.  The idiots here then elected him to Congress even though his was morally and ethically unfit to be US Attorney.  (Marino was preceded by the Lycoming County Republican "law & order" District Attorney Brett O. Feese who is doing 4-12 years in state prison for his role in the Computergate scandal.).

    There are more Confederate battle flags around Lycoming County than in the deep south.  There are plenty of black inmates in the county prison but no black cops in the Williamsport Police Dept. or Pa State Police at F-Troop in Montoursville.  

  •  that balko article is heavy (0+ / 0-)

    can there be a class action lawsuit to at least recover some of the $ that's been taken from citizens by the municipalities?

    what lincoln said http://cleantechnica.com/2012/10/10/abraham-lincoln-was-on-to-wind-power-long-before-the-rest/

    by rasfrome on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:46:39 AM PDT

  •  Well, yeah: if there wasn't real suspicion that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    the department and other officials were going to sweep the shooting of Michael Brown under the rug, the DOJ wouldn't be there in the first place, or at least, not in force.

     

    Someone actually admitted on DK, "Yes. If it pisses you and the other Greenwald-Tweet-pearl-clutchers off, it's smart." Wow. Just....wow.

    by Inland on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:58:36 AM PDT

  •  Shakedown (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slampros, a2nite

    Cops are quite simply extorting money for their own salaries. This is a predictable consequence of the anti-tax movements.
    It badly distorts society.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 10:42:51 AM PDT

  •  link in this article doesn't go to Balko's piece (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne

    at least not for me at the moment.

    Here is a working link to Radley Balko's exposé on the abuse of police department powers:
    How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty

    It also talks about the organizational reasons for some of these problems and the difficulties of resolving them.

    This is not a sig-line.

    by Joffan on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 11:57:37 AM PDT

  •  Better late than never, NOT! (0+ / 0-)

    The Department of Justice should investigate the entire State of Missouri (misery). Of course, likely nothing will come of this investigation. That is except the rapid consumption of tax dollars used to keep the legal profession trolling.

    Sorry, I am skeptical! No serious justice seeking criminal charges have come from the Torture investigation, the flagrant CIA, NSA Law Breaking, Corporate Banking Crimes. Heck the Feds can't even manage Clive Bunday.

    The list is expansive folks. Eric Holder and Et Al have no clothes. Ha!, most of the federal government has no clothes.

    We all deserve better. A GREAT DEAL BETTER!

  •  FOX will scream "Racism" (0+ / 0-)

    in 3....2....1.... if they haven't already. Since it's Attorney General Holder, there MUST be a race issue involved.

  •  Phrases heard around the water coolers in the c... (0+ / 0-)

    Phrases heard around the water coolers in the city offices of Ferguson:

    "early retirement"

    "does Belize have an extradition treaty with the US"

    "hey, that's my lawyer, too"

    "let's collude"

    "Who's your first pick for an indictment?"

  •  reconvene this discussion in 8 months (0+ / 0-)

    That's likely the length of time it wil lake the DoJ to produce a report on the Ferguson PD.  In SIX months time the people of ferguson could demand a recall of every single person elected to run the city, and that is a faster solution to the problem, possibly.  

    I applaud this action from the DOJ but wish they probe was wider and that more than 53 cops were going to be affected directly as a result of this.  

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site