The closer we look at the situation in Ferguson, the more vile it gets. The courts were stacking minor fines on people — especially black people — and then putting them on a merry-go-round of constantly accumulating fines. And when the poor were unable to pay the fines, they were thrown in jail. One woman had to pay over $500 on a $150 parking fine, and even that didn’t clear the debt.
But if you were a rich white debtor, you got a completely different kind of treatment.
The judge in Ferguson, Missouri, who is accused of fixing traffic tickets for himself and colleagues while inflicting a punishing regime of fines and fees on the city’s residents, also owes more than $170,000 in unpaid taxes.
Ronald J Brockmeyer, whose court allegedly jailed impoverished defendants unable to pay fines of a few hundred dollars, has a string of outstanding debts to the US government dating back to 2007, according to tax filings obtained by the Guardian from authorities in Missouri.
This judge bragged about his ability to gouging money out of his constituents, worked simultaneously as judge, prosecutor, and private attorney, and then didn’t pay personal taxes or employer taxes for his legal business.
I guess Missouri (and other states) are re-enacting a collection of medieval fiefdoms. Except that’s slandering the Middle Ages.