LAWRENCE – Lawrence police officers have been required to read the federal report that details the Ferguson, Missouri, police department after last summer’s shooting of Michael Brown.
“The patterns and practices of the department are an example of a relationship with the community gone bad,” Police Chief Tarik Khatib told The Lawrence Journal-World.
Brown, a black, unarmed 18-year-old, was killed Aug. 9 by Officer Darren Wilson, an event that sparked nationwide protests and unrest in Ferguson.
The Justice Department report, which was published March 4, highlights how Ferguson’s police practices eroded community trust. According to the report, Ferguson city officials also pressured the police department to generate revenue by issuing more and more citations for city code violations.
“The city and police department saw citizens as a source of revenue and a hindrance,” Khatib said “That’s a dangerous circumstance to have because you start to have police officers see citizens not as people they’re supposed to help but as an annoyance to whatever it is you want to do.”
For 2015, Ferguson expects fines and fees to make up about 23.3 percent of its budget, the report said. The city of Lawrence anticipates fines and fees to make up about 4 percent of its 2015 budget.
The Justice Department also found that Ferguson’s practices “are directly shaped and perpetuated by racial bias,” as evidenced by disproportionate arrest rates among races and even by racial slurs and stereotypes in email exchanges between officers.
Khatib said police officers have been authorized to read the 102-page report on duty between calls. Sgt. Trent McKinley said captains and sergeants will verify their officers have read the report and discuss lessons that can be learned.