Racist emails distributed by then-supervisors of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department and a court clerk, including a picture of Ronald Reagan, the "Bedtime for Bonzo" actor and later president, holding a baby ape with the caption “Rare photo of Ronald Reagan babysitting Barack Obama in early 1962,” were released Friday to the Washington Post in response to a public-records request. The emails led to the firings of the officials and added to the criticism that the St. Louis suburb treated blacks unfairly for years.


Another message compared dogs to welfare recipients, saying the canines “are mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.” William Mudd, a former Ferguson police sergeant, sent that email. The others involved in the racist emails included former Court Clerk Mary Ann Twitty, who circulated the ape picture, and ex-Police Capt. Rick Henke, according to the Post.

The racist messages were part of the Justice Department’s report that found blacks were discriminated against in Ferguson, including being the targets of summonses that forced some residents into deep debt. The review did not recommend charges against former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, who was not indicted in the killing of unarmed Ferguson teen Michael Brown in August.

Brown’s death sparked protests in Ferguson and a national debate across the country on appropriate use of force by police, racial profiling and police brutality. Shortly after the DOJ report was released, Police Chief Tom Jackson quit. 

You can read the racist emails here.