Ferguson city manager resigns after federal report of racial bias

Ferguson city manager resigns after federal report of racial bias

HomeUSHuman Rights Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:36AM

The city manager of Ferguson, Missouri has resigned after a government investigation found widespread racial discrimination in the police department and court system.

John Shaw, 39, resigned under pressure on Tuesday after the Ferguson city council voted unanimously to approve a “mutual separation agreement.”

He had held the position since 2007. As Ferguson’s chief executive officer (CEO), he was the city’s most powerful official.

Shaw’s resignation comes one week after the Justice Department released a report that shows the criminal justice system in Ferguson is “broken and racially biased” and overwhelmingly arrested and issued traffic tickets to African-American residents, creating a “toxic” environment with its policing practices.

The report is the result of a months-long probe triggered by the last summer’s shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, which led to massive protests across the country.

Shaw had remained largely in the background during the protests in Ferguson. But he, along with other local officials, was heavily criticized by the Justice Department for encouraging the city’s racially biased and unconstitutional law enforcement practices.

Shaw, in a resignation letter, said that he “never instructed the police department to target African-Americans, nor falsify charges to administer fines, nor heap abuses on the backs of the poor. Any inferences of that kind from the report are simply false.”

Five people in Ferguson have been fired or resigned under pressure since the release of the federal probe, including municipal court judge Ronald Brockmeyer, municipal court clerk Mary Ann Twitty, as well as police officers Rick Henke and William Mudd.

Activists say the police killings of African-Americans are clear evidence of the prevalence of police brutality, poverty and racism in the United States.

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