Ferguson Justice System Is Discriminatory: Report

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Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg Businessweek’s Peter Coy and Bloomberg’s Toluse Olorunnipa report on unrest and racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri. They speak on “In The Loop.” (Source: Bloomberg)


Ferguson saw its first night of relative calm in quite some time last night.

I know you've spoken to a lot of people on the ground.

Do they feel as though racism is something that is just inherent in the culture of that town?

That is something i have been hearing all through the week i have been here.

People saying that michael brown's death was a tipping point.

It was the straw that broke the camels back.

They believe they have been given harassment by police and various different people in ferguson.

People say they just could not take it anymore after michael brown was killed.

Peter, you hear people saying they feel as though they have been singled out and harassed because of the color of their skin.

You have looked into this.

There is a lot of research to suggest that the police are doing that.

The report that i mentioned was prepared earlier this year before ferguson made the headlines.

It found that blacks are stopped disproportionately for traffic file asians, disproportionate -- violations, disproportionate to their race.

They are twice as likely to be searched than white drivers.

When their searched, there are only two thirds as likely to find contraband.

Then they go to court.

The whites, who tend to be higher income, can afford a lawyer.

They manage to get a moving violation knocks down to a nonmoving violation.

Blacks come to court without a lawyer and disproportionately end up getting a moving violation, which costs them points on their license and they also are more likely to pay the fines which they cannot afford.

They are more likely to go to jail because they are not paying.

It is a spiral downward that is taking momentum all on its own.

You go to these courts in ferguson, a town of only 21,000. courts are a big part of the separation.

There is nothing in there that says they are specifically targeting blacks.

Lacks of lower income.

They tend to suffer far more from this behavior.

The arch city defenders report and this is before august 9 -- ferguson was one of the three towns.

Is there much talk about that report on the ground in ferguson?

I think people are talking more just about the content not being aware of the report being out.

They definitely confirm what this report has found, which they say they go to court all the time and they see a ton of black people who can get find and do not have a lawyer.

He believed the criminal justice system discriminates against them, as well as the police officers.

It seems to be backed up in this report.

This is not necessarily just specific to ferguson.

No, it is not.

We clearly have a national conversation we need to have about race.

My cover story tries to look at it both ways.

One way you can look at it is that pew research center did a poll of all americans and asked them about ferguson,. do you believe this is indication for having a national conversation about race?

80% of blacks thought so.

44% of whites thought so.

Two thirds of blacks thought ferguson police overreacted.

One third of whites thought so.

We are looking at things through very different lenses in the country.

Yes, for sure.

Thank you very much.

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