A Ferguson, Mo. judge accused of imposing high fines and harsh punishments on residents who couldn’t afford to pay owes the US government more than $170,000 in back taxes, The Guardian newspaper reported on Friday.
Ronald J. Brockmeyer, 70, was identified in a scathing report issued by the Department of Justice on Tuesday that accused the city of racial biases in its justice system.
Brockmeyer allegedly fixed traffic tickets for himself and his friends while forcing others who came through his court to pay high fines, according to The Guardian. Those who were unable to pay were reportedly jailed by Brockmeyer, the newspaper reported.
The information about Brockmeyer came from tax filings which the paper got from Missouri officials.
The city of Ferguson is comprised of mostly white authorities, while its residents are two-thirds black, the paper reported. The DOJ’s report was initiated after the police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August.
Brockmeyer reportedly was integral to enforcing the system wherein Ferguson used its court to increase revenue, a system that was found to have contributed to the city’s strained race relations, according to the DOJ report. Brockmeyer allegedly created a variety of fees which, based on the DOJ’s findings, “may be unlawful” and were “considered abusive.”
Brockmeyer has served as a judge in Ferguson’s municipal court for 12 years and also serves as a prosecutor in two cities in Missouri, a potential conflict of interest, according to legal experts who spoke to The Guardian.
The Guardian said it failed to get a response from Brockmeyer.