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Ferguson's racist emails released to public


In response to a public-records request, The Washington Post has acquired copies of the racially charged emails that got three Ferguson police and court officials fired.

On Thursday evening, Ferguson, Missouri city officials released the full, unedited content of the religiously insensitive and racially charged emails sent by former city court clerk, Mary Ann Twitty and two former police department supervisors, police captain Rick Henke and police sergeant William Mudd.

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After the Department of Justice discovered the email correspondence, all three were fired from their jobs. The unredacted versions reveal for the first time which employee sent which emails. None of them have spoken publicly since losing their employment.

The emails were sent between 2008 and 2011, with several focusing on President Obama and most of them belittling him and minorities.

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In an email message dated Tuesday, April 19, 2011, Twitty forwarded an image titled “Very Rare Photo,” which showed former President Ronald Reagan feeding a baby monkey. Screen shot from video.

In another email that Mudd forwarded to Twitty in May 2011, the message read, “A black woman in New Orleans was admitted into a hospital for pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.’”

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Another email forwarded by Twitty. Screen shot from video.

According to The Washington Post, the emails were among the evidence presented by the Justice Department in a report released this year that concluded that racism permeated the Ferguson Police Department.

Email sent March 1, 2010 titled Leroy's Last Child Support Payment, sent by Twitty. Image source: Washington Post.
Email sent March 1, 2010 titled Leroy’s Last Child Support Payment, sent by Twitty. Image source: Washington Post.


“The evidence of racial bias comes not only from statistics, but also from remarks made by police, city and court officials,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder said in March upon the report’s release. “A thorough examination of the records, including a large volume of work emails, shows a number of public servants expressing racist comments or gender discrimination, demonstrating grotesque views and images of African Americans in which they were seen as the ‘other,’ called ‘transient’ by public officials and characterized as lacking personal responsibility.”

On the day that the DOJ released their report, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles criticized the emails and vowed that they did not represent the culture within the Ferguson Police Department.

“Let me be clear, this type of behavior will not be tolerated in the Ferguson Police Department or in any department in the city of Ferguson,” Knowles said. “These actions taken by these individuals are in no way representative of the employees of the city of Ferguson.”

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