Three employees of the city of Ferguson, Missouri, have been fired due to "egregious racial bias" discovered in emails that were highlighted in a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, the city's mayor announced Friday, according to Reuters. The terminations came two days after two city employees were suspended pending an investigation and another employee was fired over racist emails. It was not immediately clear whether the employees fired Friday included those who were suspended earlier in the week.
The employees fired Friday worked at the Ferguson Police Department and the municipal court system, Mayor James Knowles said, according to Reuters. Knowles did not identify the employees and did not say whether Ferguson police Chief Tom Jackson would be or had been asked to leave his post, although many have called for him to step down; suggestions that he might do so go back as far as October. Mary Ann Twitty, Ferguson's top court clerk, according to the New York Times, was fired Wednesday after the DOJ discovered grossly racist emails exchanged between city employees.
The DOJ discovered the emails while investigating misconduct and racial discrimination in law enforcement in Ferguson, a city that has been under scrutiny since a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, in August 2014. That killing, along with similar instances across the country where unarmed black males died at the hands of police officers, helped ignite a national debate on race and policing. In the report issued Wednesday, the DOJ found clear racism and practices where the city and its police officials targeted minorities.
The Ferguson Police Department is negotiating a settlement with the DOJ and implementing various reforms, after the federal agency's report detailed illegal practices that discriminated against African-Americans. If no settlement is reached, the DOJ could sue the police department. Ferguson leaders are expected to meet with DOJ officials in two weeks.