FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) – Ferguson Mayor James Knowles answers questions for the first time since the U.S. Department of Justice released its investigative report into the Ferguson Police Department.
Knowles said three people involved with reported racist emails no longer work for Ferguson. He would not give names, but Fox 2 confirmed the former employees are court clerk Mary Ann Twitty, who was fired Wednesday, and Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd, who resigned the following day.
The mayor said the concerns go well beyond offensive emails. He also talked about the emails Federal investigators uncovered regarding finances.
‘’I think there are some emails and things that look terrible,” Knowles said. ‘‘I think what people need to recognize is that the city council and myself have never viewed the city police department as a collection agency.”
Knowles said they`re finding ways to eliminate fees, such as extra charges for failure to appear.
‘’We also want to make sure we can take corrective action with what they`re doing and not get into some sort of endless cycle,” he said.
It`s not such an easy answer when it comes to reported wrongful arrests, like what the DOJ called ‘’arrest abuses” for failure to comply.
One example in the report said ‘’an officer wrote 8 counts including making a false declaration for using the name `Mike` instead of `Michael.’”
‘’For us to address that, we are going to need to be a little bit more information from the Department of Justice,” Knowles said.
Knowles said he hasn’t seen that part of the report.
‘‘I mean, if you would imagine if there was an arrest for that, or a citation that it exists, has it been given to me or the city administration at this point? No,” he said.
The Department of Justice says it won’t give the evidence to the public, either. A DoJ spokesperson told Fox 2’s Chris Hayes the feds will not release anything beyond its written report. Knowles said he’ll keep asking for it, because Ferguson intends to keep its police department.
‘'(We’ll become) one of the few police departments in the country that`s undergone any kind of scrutiny, especially at this level, and hopefully in the end will emerge one of the most professional police departments in the area,” Knowles said. ‘‘When this is all done, the City of Ferguson is the only police department in St. Louis who has had anyone look into them like this.”
But can the mayor do that with Chief Tom Jackson in charge of the department?
‘’I think the conversation right now is looking at all of what’s going on in that report, again what the breakdown was, and, you know, figuring out what needs to be done,” Knowles said. ‘‘If that’s staffing changes, if it’s procedural changes, those are things we’re going to examine.”
The Ferguson mayor would not firmly answer questions about the police chief’s future, other than to say the city is not going to take action based on politics.
Meanwhile, the DoJ will be back in Ferguson in two weeks to discuss the latest changes and progress.
Follow Chris Hayes on Twitter @ChrisHayesTV