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A conservative says conservatives can do better in their response to Ferguson

Police arrest a protester in Ferguson, Missouri.
Police arrest a protester in Ferguson, Missouri.
Scott Olson / Getty Images

Leon Wolf of RedState, a political news blog, says his fellow conservatives "are blowing" their response to the Justice Department's searing report on Ferguson, Missouri, by ignoring how the St. Louis suburb turned its police and court system into revenue-generating operations that disproportionately hurt black residents.

"No conservative on earth should feel comfortable with the way the Ferguson PD has been operating for years," Wolf wrote, "even according to their own documents."

Wolf argued that what happened in Ferguson has become an issue of "ideological tribalism," where liberals are against the city's police and conservatives are on the side of law enforcement. The result is that many liberals have ignored the Justice Department's findings that there was no credible evidence of Michael Brown holding up his hands when police officer Darren Wilson shot him, Wolf wrote, and many conservatives have ignored the report on racial bias in the city's police and courts.

So Wolf went through the 102-page report on Ferguson police, focusing on the evidence and documentation provided by the Ferguson Police Department — to avoid any possible bias from the Justice Department and the people it interviewed. He is unrelenting in his conclusions that the Ferguson Police Department was racially biased and focused far too much on raising revenue through fines and court fees:

[T]he report, taken as a whole, even in terms of material collected exclusively from FPD documents, is incredibly damning of police and municipal court practices in Ferguson. Anyone who can read the actual report itself and be comfortable with the fact that citizens of an American city live under such a regime is frankly not someone who is ideologically aligned with me in any meaningful way.

Commenters on the post criticized Wolf's analysis, condemning his acknowledgment of racial biases in the city's police force. In response to the comments, Wolf perfectly captured the absurdity of believing most of the report but not one specific part:

Thus, among people who bothered to read the post, they can believe that the Ferguson PD was an inexcusable revenue generation machine, that it habitually used excessive force, that it punished people regularly for contempt of cop, that it systematically violated its citizens civil liberties. All of this is believable. But not, apparently, that justice was also administered in a racially biased (which is different from racist) way.

That's an awful lot of dedication to the proposition that people you don't know couldn't possibly be racially biased. And that's all I further intend to say on this matter.

Read Wolf's full analysis of the Ferguson report.