‘Thrown under bus’: Ferguson court clerk fired for racist emails claims scapegoating
Ferguson, Missouri’s former top court clerk, fired for exchanging racist emails with colleagues, is speaking out, claiming she is far from the only government official who traded racist jokes and that she was “thrown under the bus” by the city.
Mary Ann Twitty was fired after 19 years as Ferguson’s top county clerk following a scathing Department of Justice investigation into Ferguson’s court and police department. According to the 105-page report, federal investigators uncovered “a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct within the Ferguson Police Department that violates the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and federal statutory law.”
Twitty said there are municipalities that need county clerks but everyone is afraid to hire her – and that they are afraid of the Justice Department.
“My name has been blackballed and I was the top court clerk. I was just completely thrown under the bus. I was totally destroyed by it,” she told St. Louis’ KMOV.
While Twitty was fired and two police supervisors were asked to resign, she said she was far from the only government official who shared racist jokes, and that they “went through the whole station.”
“They would have had to shut the doors [if everyone involved was fired] because they went through the whole station, trust me,” she said to KMOV.
Twitty denied that she was racist and said she was “used as an example” in the wake of the federal investigation.
“Sure they look racist, but even when I’d looked at them, I’m thinking, 'God, yeah, that is racist.' But they were jokes. I meant no harm to anyone,” Twitty said.
The clerk was also interviewed this week by Fox 2 in St. Louis and said she hadn’t meant to hurt anyone with the emails. She was only passing along jokes, she said, adding that she treats everyone fairly.
"It's not like I personally sent them out or forwarded them to the police officers to hurt anyone or be racist, because I’m not racist. I have a black sister, so I mean I am not racist,” Twitty said.
I don't think Mary Ann Twitty realizes she just gave Michael Brown's family more powerful evidence in their civil suit against #Ferguson.
— TC (@tchopstl) April 8, 2015
Some of the emails that were discovered sent during work hours include a November 2008 email stating that “President Barack Obama would not be President for very long because ‘what black man holds a steady job for four years,’” and a June 2011 email describing a man seeking to obtain “welfare” for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.”
The findings of the DOJ report also led to the resignations of several other Ferguson officials, including the police chief, the municipal judge and the city manager.