Ferguson Gets A Black Police Chief For An Almost All-White Force After DOJ Reports Racial Bias

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Ferguson has become the poster child for racial bias. After the killing of Michael Brown, an entire nation became laser-focused on a city whose population is two-thirds black but whose management and police force is almost exclusively white. After the US Justice Department released a scathing report in March that cited racial bias at all levels of government, the city has begun taking steps to ensure the mistakes of the past don’t carry over into the future.

The first step for Mayor James Knowles III, who is white, was to hire Ed Beasley as the interim city manager, borrowing him from Glendale, Arizona. Beasley, a black man, fast tracked the hiring of another black man from Glendale, Andre Anderson, to take over as chief of police on an interim basis.

Voters in Ferguson defied predictions in the last election, electing a city council that is half black. Together with the new city manager and police chief, Ferguson hopes to ease racial tensions between citizens and police.

Neither of the new interim officials discussed the DOJ’s findings of rampant racism in a news conference Wednesday, but Anderson, who grew up in Philadelphia, said he is ready to “roll up his sleeves and get to work.” He also acknowledged that he hoped he would earn the position of chief on a full-time basis at the end of his six month interim period.

Anderson promised that he would focus the department to foster the “respect, cultural awareness and the professionalism this community deserves,” and asked the people of Ferguson to help “set a course in the history books that clearly proves that peace prevails.”

Anderson also plans to diversify the police department in Ferguson, something many, including the DOJ, think is long past due. He said new officers should “reflect the demographics of the community.”

The tragedy in Ferguson, the national attention, the “Black Lives Matter” movement and now the moves to correct an obviously out-of-balance situation show a determination by Ferguson to lead by example.

When the DOJ released its report, several high-ranking officials, including the city manager and municipal judge resigned their positions. Replacing them with people who have experience dealing with racial tensions does more than simply removing the racial bias of a court system determined to profit from the exploitation of young black men and the police who enforced its rulings, it gives the people of this wounded town real hope that they’re being handed a real opportunity to heal rather than a band-aid to placate them until the next storm rolls in.

Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info

 

 

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