The fallout continues in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, following the Justice Department’s report on how the city pretty much ran its police force as a revenue-collection operation aimed at transferring money from black citizens to the city’s general fund. On Wednesday, Chief of Police Thomas Jackson announced, “with profound sadness,” that he is resigning, effective March 19.
Jackson’s the one who entertained the nation with his whimsical versions of press briefings, which contained no information. He took nearly a week to release the name of the officer who shot Mike Brown, then claimed that reporters had been demanding that he also release video surveillance tapes of Michael Brown taking cigarillos from a convenience store.
It turned out nobody requested the tapes since no one knew they existed. Jackson also helped calm frayed nerves by telling Ferguson citizens to stay off the streets after dark if they knew what was good for them.
On the other hand, he apologized for letting Brown’s body lie in the street for hours, so surely that counts for something.
Oh, yes, and then there were also the years and years of shaking down black residents of Ferguson — and travelers passing through town — for traffic tickets and fines and stuff, too. The Justice Department didn’t like that either.
Jackson’s only the latest to resign in Ferguson. On Tuesday, municipal judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer resigned after the report showed that he’d fixed friends’ traffic tickets while imprisoning less-pale residents for unpaid fines. City Manager John Shaw also resigned Tuesday night; the DOJ report said that Shaw had praised Brockmeyer “as a money maker and revenue generator for the city.” While Shaw denied that he had instructed city employees to violate anyone’s constitutional rights, he was apparently winking so frequently that it was difficult to tell whether he really meant it.
Last week, a couple of minor city and court officials were fired. Two police officers who sent racist emails also quit.
And now Jackson’s packing up his desk and heading out the door. As MSNBC notes, there had been previous rumors that Jackson was on the verge of resigning that turned out to be false. But those previous reports weren’t accompanied by a report from the U.S. Department of Justice outlining systemic racism in the Ferguson PD. While a little systemic racism in the Ferguson PD has never slowed Jackson down before, guess a nudge from the DOJ did the trick.