Ferguson, Missouri, releases racist emails from former officials

Ferguson, Missouri, releases racist emails from former officials
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Officials in Ferguson, Missouri, have released the full content of racially charged and religiously insensitive emails, including about President Barack Obama, sent between the city’s former court clerk and two ex-police supervisors. The St. Louis suburb was torn by months of unrest following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. The emails, although dating back years before the shooting, were among evidence presented by the Justice Department in a report in March that concluded that racism pervaded the Ferguson Police Department. The unredacted versions show for the first time which employee sent which emails. The emails were released to the Washington Post late on Thursday in response to a public-records request. They were sent and received by Mary Ann Twitty, who was Ferguson’s court clerk, as well as former Ferguson police Captain Rick Henke and former police Sergeant William Mudd. All three were removed from their jobs after the Department of Justice discovered the emails, which prompted an investigation by city officials. The three have made no comment since leaving their jobs. The emails were sent between 2008 and 2011 and are mainly email forwards containing insensitive and offensive jokes. One email, sent by Twitty to both men as well as a third recipient with the subject line “Insensitive One Liners”, including one linking a Muslim clothing shop to suicide bombings. Several of the emails focus on Obama, and the majority speak disparagingly of him or minorities more broadly. In a message dated Tuesday, April 19, 2011, Twitty forwarded a message titled “Very Rare Photo” that likened Obama to a monkey. The contents of some of the emails had been included in part or referenced in the Justice Department report. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles condemned the emails when the Justice Department report was released, saying, "These actions taken by these individuals are in no way representative of the employees of the city of Ferguson." (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Alison Williams)

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