Along with the DOJ’s revelations regarding the Ferguson Police Department’s racist emails, it was discovered that the Ferguson judge who got himself and colleagues out of traffic tickets, along with unfair leveling of fines and fees on the city’s residents, owes more than $170,000 in unpaid taxes.
Ronald J Brockmeyer, whose allegedly threw poor defendants unable to pay fines of a few hundred dollars in jail, has debts to the US government going all the way back to 2007, according to tax filings obtained by the Guardian.
Brockmeyer’s court in Ferguson is currently embroiled in a class-action federal lawsuit that alleges the city of Ferguson repeatedly “imprisoned a human being solely because the person could not afford to make a monetary payment.”
“Judge Brockmeyer not being incarcerated is a perfect illustration of how we should go about collecting debt from people who owe it,” said Thomas Harvey, the director of Arch City Defenders.
The DOJ’s report found that Brockmeyer was named among a group of white Ferguson officials found to be getting out of citations for themselves and friends while punishing residents for the very same offences.
“Once locked in the Ferguson jail, impoverished people owing debts to the city endure grotesque treatment. They are kept in overcrowded cells; they are denied toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap; they are subjected to the constant stench of excrement and refuse in their congested cells [and] they are surrounded by walls smeared with mucus and blood,” a portion of the lawsuit reads.
“Most debtors in this country are not rounded up and jailed in brutal conditions,” said Alec Karakatsanis, an attorney in the lawsuit. “But if you happen to owe your debts to a municipality in St Louis County, they are willing to let you languish there on a ransom.”
h/t The Raw Story