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Two police officers, court clerk out at Ferguson over racist emails

Two police officers, court clerk out at Ferguson over racist emails

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FERGUSON •  Two veteran police commanders have resigned and a city court clerk has been fired over racist emails cited this week in a Justice Department report critical of the city of Ferguson's law enforcement. 

Capt. Rick Henke and Sgt. William Mudd resigned Thursday, sources confirmed Friday. Also Friday, city spokesman Jeff Small said Court Clerk Mary Ann Twitty was fired Wednesday.

Emails were included in a voluminous report that accused Ferguson of using its police and municipal court as a revenue engine, unfairly tapping the pocketbooks of the poor and blacks.

It was not clear whether the three were alleged to be senders or recipients of offensive emails. They could not be reached for comment.

The sources said Henke was associated with an email from 2008 suggesting that President Barack Obama would not be president for very long because a black man can't hold a job. They said Mudd was associated with an email from 2011 suggesting that CrimeStoppers paid a black woman who terminated a pregnancy.

The Justice Department report also detailed other emails as well, including one that depicted Obama as a chimpanzee.

Small would not comment on any of the former employees, citing their leaving as a personnel issue.

In 1992, Mudd was among three officers who fired 10 shots at Kenneth Baumruk in the St. Louis County Courthouse after the man fatally shot his estranged wife and injured four others at a divorce hearing. At the time, Mudd was credited with keeping Baumruk from shooting another police officer.

He and the others earned a Medal of Valor for their actions. Baumruk has since died in prison.

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Christine Byers is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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