Ferguson Officials Racist Emails Released
Emails between officers and city official – including one joking about stoning Muslim women and image used to mock Michelle Obama – now made public
Senior police officers and a city official in Ferguson, Missouri, exchanged emails that likened ethnic minority welfare recipients to dogs and joked about stoning Muslim women, it emerged on Friday.
The previously undisclosed messages were released along with full copies of emails referenced in a report by the US Department of Justice that led to the dismissal of a series of senior city officials last month.
One of those emails depicted Barack Obama as a chimpanzee, another doubted his ability as a black man to hold a job for four years, while a third labelled a photograph of a black tribal gathering “Michelle Obama’s high school reunion”.
The emails were released to the Guardian and other media outlets in response to public records requests filed following the publication of the Justice Department’s damning report. They were written or forwarded by court clerk Mary Ann Twitty, police captain Rick Henke and police sergeant William Mudd.
One email sent from Mudd to Twitty joked that a man had initially been declined state welfare payments for his pet dogs but was successful after explaining they were “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are”.
Included among a series of “one-liners” forwarded by Twitty to Mudd and Henke was a joke about a man who discovered his wife had an affair. “But, by turning to religion, I was soon able to come to terms with the whole thing,” it said. “I converted to Islam, and we’re stoning her in the morning!”
The three former officials could not be reached for comment. Twitty and Mudd did not respond to messages from the Guardian requesting comment after their dismissals last month.
“Some of these emails just touch me more than others,” said the email depicting Obama as a chimpanzee in the arms of former president Ronald Reagan. The message was forwarded by Twitty to Mudd and Henke, who was effectively the police department’s second-in-command.
The city of Ferguson is currently negotiating a legal agreement to reform its criminal justice system in response to the Justice Department’s report. The federal inquiry was prompted by unrest following the fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old by a white police officer last August.