13 per cent of Ferguson cops have faced excessive force lawsuits

Posted by Matthew Champion in news

Remember Ferguson? The St Louis suburb, Missouri, was the scene of some of the worst race-related unrest in the US since the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

Demonstrations were sparked by the August 9 death of black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot six times by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who remains under investigation.

According to the Washington Post, six other Ferguson officers - five current and one former - have been named in civil rights lawsuits alleging the use of excessive force.

That means 13 per cent of the 53-strong department has faced such investigations, compared to a national average of around 0.5 per cent of all police officers, as calculated by the Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project.

Ferguson police officers have fought a variety of allegations, including:

  • Killing a mentally ill man with a Taser
  • Pistol-whipping a child
  • Choking and hogtying a child
  • Beating a man later charged with destroying city property because his blood got on to officers' clothes

The cases themselves are fairly extraordinary - so is the volume. It's prima facie evidence of discriminatory practices. I would be surprised if [the Justice Department] didn't make a recommendation that they be placed under scrutiny.

  • Clarence Harmon, former St Louis Mayor and city police chief

In all but one of the cases, the victims were black, while one of the officers involved was African-American.

In one lawsuit the officer was found not liable, although the department paid out a settlement, with four pending and one on appeal.

The Ferguson Police Department declined to comment.


Hat-tip: The Washington Post

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