Black People : RICO case against ferguson....

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by jamesfrmphilly, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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  2. UBNaturally

    UBNaturally Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The City budgets for sizeable increases in municipal fines and fees each year, exhorts police and court staff to deliver those revenue increases, and closely monitors whether those increases are achieved. City officials routinely urge Chief Jackson to generate more revenue through enforcement. In March 2010, for instance, the City Finance Director wrote to Chief Jackson that “unless ticket writing ramps up significantly before the end of the year, it will be hard to significantly raise collections next year. . . . Given that we are looking at a substantial sales tax short fall, it’s not an insignificant issue.” Similarly, in March 2013, the Finance Director wrote to the City Manager:

    “Court fees are anticipated to rise about 7.5%. I did ask the Chief if he thought the PD could deliver 10% increase. He indicated they could try.”​

    The importance of focusing on revenue generation is communicated to FPD officers. Ferguson police officers from all ranks told us that revenue generation is stressed heavily within the police department, and that the message comes from City leadership. The evidence we reviewed supports this perception

    We spoke, for example, with an African-American woman who has a still-pending case stemming from 2007, when, on a single occasion, she parked her car illegally. She received two citations and a $151 fine, plus fees. The woman, who experienced financial difficulties and periods of homelessness over several years, was charged with seven Failure to Appear offenses for missing court dates or fine payments on her parking tickets between 2007 and 2010.

    For each Failure to Appear, the court issued an arrest warrant and imposed new fines and fees. From 2007 to 2014, the woman was arrested twice, spent six days in jail, and paid $550 to the court for the events stemming from this single instance of illegal parking. Court records show that she twice attempted to make partial payments of $25 and $50, but the court returned those payments, refusing to accept anything less than payment in full. One of those payments was later accepted, but only after the court’s letter rejecting payment by money order was returned as undeliverable. This woman is now making regular payments on the fine. As of December 2014, over seven years later, despite initially owing a $151 fine and having already paid $550, she still owed $541.



    FERGUSON LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS ARE FOCUSED ON GENERATING REVENUE

    City officials have consistently set maximizing revenue as the priority for Ferguson’s law enforcement activity. Ferguson generates a significant and increasing amount of revenue from the enforcement of code provisions. The City has budgeted for, and achieved, significant increases in revenue from municipal code enforcement over the last several years, and these increases are projected to continue. Of the $11.07 million in general fund revenue the City collected in fiscal year 2010, $1.38 million came from fines and fees collected by the court; similarly, in fiscal year
    2011, the City’s general fund revenue of $11.44 million included $1.41 million from fines and fees. In its budget for fiscal year 2012, however, the City predicted that revenue from municipal fines and fees would increase over 30% from the previous year’s amount to $1.92 million; the court exceeded that target, collecting $2.11 million. In its budget for fiscal year 2013, the City budgeted for fines and fees to yield $2.11 million; the court exceeded that target as well, collecting $2.46 million. For 2014, the City budgeted for the municipal court to generate $2.63 million in revenue. The City has not yet made public the actual revenue collected that year, although budget documents forecasted lower revenue than 10 was budgeted. Nonetheless, for fiscal year 2015, the City’s budget anticipates fine and fee revenues to account for $3.09 million of a projected $13.26 million in general fund revenues.

    City, police, and court officials for years have worked in concert to maximize revenue at every stage of the enforcement process, beginning with how fines and fine enforcement processes are established. In a February 2011 report requested by the City Council at a Financial Planning Session and drafted by Ferguson’s Finance Director with contributions from Chief Jackson, the Finance Director reported on “efforts to increase efficiencies and maximize collection” by the municipal court. The report included an extensive comparison of Ferguson’s fines to those of surrounding municipalities and noted with approval that Ferguson’s fines are “at or near the top of the list.”

    The chart noted, for example, that while other municipalities’ parking fines generally range from $5 to $100, Ferguson’s is $102. The chart noted also that the charge for “Weeds/Tall Grass” was as little as $5 in one city but, in Ferguson, it ranged from $77 to $102. The report stated that the acting prosecutor had reviewed the City’s “high volume offenses” and “started recommending higher fines on these cases, and recommending probation only infrequently.”

    While the report stated that this recommendation was because of a “large volume of non-compliance,” the recommendation was in fact emphasized as one of several ways that the code enforcement system had been honed to produce more revenue. In combination with a high fine schedule, the City directs FPD to aggressively enforce the municipal code. City and police leadership pressure officers to write citations, independent of any public safety need, and rely on citation productivity to fund the City budget. In an email from March 2010, the Finance Director wrote to Chief Jackson that “unless ticket writing ramps up significantly before the end of the year, it will be hard to significantly raise collections next year. What are your thoughts? Given that we are looking at a substantial sales tax shortfall, it’s not an insignificant issue.” Chief Jackson responded that the City would see an increase in fines once more officers were hired and that he could target the $1.5 million forecast. Significantly, Chief Jackson stated that he was also “looking at different shift schedules which will place more officers on the street, which in turn will increase traffic enforcement per shift.” Shortly thereafter, FPD switched to the 12-hour shift schedule for its patrol officers, which FPD continues to use.

    Law enforcement experience has shown that this schedule makes community policing more difficult — a concern that we have also heard directly from FPD officers. Nonetheless, while FPD heavily considered the revenue implications of the 12-hour shift and certain other factors such as its impact on overtime and sick time usage, we have found no evidence that FPD considered the consequences for positive community engagement. The City’s 2014 budget itself stated that since December 2010, “the percent of [FPD] resources allocated to traffic enforcement has increased,” and “[a]s a result, traffic enforcement related collections increased” in the following two years. The 2015 budget added that even after those initial increases, in fiscal year 2012-2013, FPD was once again “successful in increasing their proportion of resources dedicated to traffic enforcement” and increasing collections.


    US Code - Chapter 95: RACKETEERING

    • Section 1951 Interference with commerce by threats or violence
    • Section 1952 Interstate and foreign travel or transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises
    • Section 1953 Interstate transportation of wagering paraphernalia
    • Section 1954 Offer, acceptance, or solicitation to influence operations of employee benefit plan
    • Section 1955 Prohibition of illegal gambling businesses
    • Section 1956 Laundering of monetary instruments
    • Section 1957 Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity
    • Section 1958 Use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire
    • Section 1959 Violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity
    • Section 1960 Prohibition of unlicensed money transmitting businesses
    - See more at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/18/I/95#sthash.6fDxR4il.dpuf

    The ones that stand out:

    Section 1954... what was the benefit to officers in creating more "criminal based" revenue?
    Section 1959... how many assaults could have been attributed to City officials wanting more revenue?


    Section 1951... could be looked at in the NY/Eric Garner death, as he was choked to death for selling cigarettes.
    • Seems like interference with commerce by violence.

    Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson To Resign

    ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who became one of the city's most well-known figures after a police officer killed teenager Michael Brown in August 2014, plans to resign in the wake of a blistering Justice Department report on the revenue-driven policing and court practices Jackson oversaw in the St. Louis suburb.

    Jackson is the sixth and most high-profile Ferguson city employee to resign after the release of the Justice Department report, which critically examined the practices of the police department and municipal court system. Two police officers and a court clerk stepped down because the report revealed they had sent racist emails, while the municipal judge and City Manager John Shaw resigned over their roles in implementing police practices that prioritized generating revenue over public safety concerns.

    Why did Jackson resign days after the release of the Justice Department report?

    Typically what happens is those that are in managerial positions or roles of authority resign in order to claim that they have no information or access to information, and thus leaving it to the new hire to be of no useful source. Jackson could have easily resigned in December, January or February, but coincidentally decided the heat of his job was too much in March.



    Related links:
    http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/18/I/96
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/11/thomas-jackson-resignation_n_6849334.html
     
  3. UBNaturally

    UBNaturally Well-Known Member MEMBER

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  4. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
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