One year later, Ferguson is still pumping out arrest warrants
Loud music. Not wearing a seat belt. Speeding. A year after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown sparked a firestorm in Ferguson, Mo. the city is still pumping out thousands of new arrest warrants and jailing people over minor offenses, according to an exclusive CNNMoney investigation presented in coordination with AC360.
This practice continues despite a scathing report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) in March of 2015 that found that Ferguson’s police department and municipal court were unconstitutionally targeting low-income and minority residents with tickets and fines for minor offenses — often in pursuit of revenue. But even in the wake of the DOJ report, the investigation found that Ferguson is still at it:
- The city has issued more than 2,300 new arrest warrants so far this year
- In May and June alone, more than 1,000 people were hit with new arrest warrants
- Over the course of the two-month period, nearly 80% of the tickets that led to arrest warrants were for minor offenses like seat belt citations and speeding tickets
- The most common tickets leading to arrest warrants were lack of car insurance, driving with a suspended license and expired or missing car registration – all violations that legal advocates say should not result in jail time and are often a symptom of poverty