The political unrest and government corruption that plagued the city of Ferguson, Missouri was no isolated incident. The racially charged chaos that brought the city to its knees is present in communities all across the nation and the Missouri Supreme Court is acknowledging that hard fact by extending its own Ferguson-style investigation to municipal courts throughout the entire state.
Many people, especially those in the Black Community, were far from surprised that the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation of Ferguson found corruption at nearly every level in the city’s government.
For those who were not privy to just how deeply rooted racism and government corruption could really be, the findings were shocking.
So shocking, in fact, that the Missouri Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it is taking extra measures to ensure such corruption is not continuing elsewhere in the state.
The top state court is asking for all Missouri residents to come forward about any and all questionable treatment they experienced or witnessed.
“Recent events have raised issues about practices and procedures in the municipal courts of Missouri,” the Supreme Court said in a statement.
For that reason, the search for corruption and racial discrimination can’t stop at Ferguson’s borders. With more than 500 municipal courts throughout the state, it’s a decision that is going to come with a heavy load of additional groundwork and investigation.
It’s also a move, however, that shows the court may have a genuine interest in improving the community and uncovering racial biases in the judicial system.
There was no social media outcry or street protests urging anyone to expand the Ferguson-style investigation to the rest of the state. The decision to do so on its on volition, without provocation, is a commendable proactive move by the Missouri Supreme Court.
The decision comes after it assigned a state appeals court judge to take over the cases in Ferguson following the troubling findings from the Department of Justice’s report on the city and surrounding St. Louis suburbs.
Although Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, the man who fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown, was not charged of any wrongdoing, the entire Ferguson police department fell under harsh scrutiny.
The Justice Department found a plethora of evidence supporting claims that police officers racially profiled Black citizens and abused the authority given to them by their badge.
The Supreme Court set a May 1 deadline to receive any questionable reports from citizens on law enforcement and added that it would not be able to change the results of any cases that have already been decided on by another judge.