FERGUSON, MO (KTVI)- This morning officials in Ferguson are waiting for what multiple national media sources say will be scathing news from the Department of Justice. The long-awaited report on the Ferguson Police Departments actions toward minorities could be released as early as today. Significant changes may well be coming to the Ferguson Police Department if the report from the New York Times proves to be accurate.
The paper quotes Department of Justice sources who have been briefed on the report saying Ferguson police created the boiling point of racial tension that erupted last summer with years of discriminatory traffic stops of African Americans. Money from traffic ticket revenue is the second highest source of income for the city, and the Department of Justice report is said to conclude that Ferguson police have been pulling over a disproportionate number of black drivers for years. Blacks make up 63 percent of Ferguson's population but account for 86 percent of traffic stops according to state figures.
But Ferguson officials say those numbers can be deceiving.
"Statistics don't lie but liars use statistics. And unfortunately that can be the case. Depending on how you use that statistic that can look very bad. I can say it's only fifteen percent of our budget and that doesn't sound so bad, but when you say its the second highest sources of our revenue, all of a sudden it sounds like this huge portion of our budget," said Mayor James Knowles.
The New York Times report says Ferguson will either have to reach a settlement with the Department of Justice that would likely require a major overhaul of the police department, or face being sued by the department on civil rights charges.
The report is expected to be released this week, possibly even Tuesday. Meanwhile, a second Department ofJustice report is expected to clear officer Darren Wilson of any civil rights violations in the Michael Brown shooting.