DOJ findings on racial profiling all too familiar in Ferguson

FERGUSON, Missouri - Even before Michael Brown was shot, Ferguson's minority community complained that repeatedly they were profiled and harassed by local police.

So for them, this Department of Justice review is vindication.

Terri Franks showed us a lapful of traffic tickets. Ferguson has been her home for 19 years, and she says whenever she drives, she worries.

"The cops are behind you all the time and you know they're running your plates and you feel nervous for no reason and it just escalates," she said.

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Terri Franks says she has spent at least $5,000 in traffic tickets, court costs and fines over the past five years.

CBS News

The DOJ investigation examined 35,000 pages of records from 2012 to 2014 and the numbers are stark. While 67 percent of Ferguson's residents are African American, they made up 93 percent of those arrested and 90 percent of people given citations.

And when an officer pulled someone over, 85 percent of the time it was an African American. When police used force, 88 percent of the time it was against African Americans.

Franks, a 49-year-old Delta flight attendant, has sons who drive. More targets, she says.

She says over the past five years, tickets, fines and court fees have been costly for her and her three sons.

"I'd say $5,000 easy," she said. "I'm a working class citizen. I don't have a lot of money."

Last September, a month after Michael Brown was killed, Franks demanded Ferguson's city council reform its police department.

"[Before] I moved to Ferguson, I never knew what court was," she said. "My sons of the top of their heads, they'll go 'Oh mom, court is Tuesday.' You can as anybody walking the street what day is court, they could tell you."

We've learned that Michael Brown's parents will meet with Department of Justice officials in the morning, before the official report is released. After that, Ferguson's mayor and police chief plan to address the public.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001 and is based in the Atlanta bureau.