Ferguson clerk fired over racist emails hired by nearby city

AP News
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Posted: Aug 07, 2015 6:39 PM

VINITA PARK, Mo. (AP) — A Ferguson court clerk fired over racist emails uncovered by the U.S. Justice Department after the police shooting death of Michael Brown has a new court job in another suburban St. Louis.

Vinita Park Mayor James McGee told The Associated Press on Friday that Mary Ann Twitty was hired last month as a temporary, part-time court clerk in that 1,900-resident city, where roughly two-thirds of the residents are black.

The Justice Department cited the racially charged emails linked to Twitty, who is white, and two ranking Ferguson officers in a scathing March report that found widespread racial bias in the city's policing and in a municipal court system that often targeted blacks. The emails belittled black residents and President Barack Obama.

The Justice Department investigated after 18-year-old Brown, who was black and unarmed, was killed by a white Ferguson officer last year.

After her firing, Twitty told the AP that she shared the messages as funny items she didn't consider offensive.

To McGee, who is black, Twitty was worth forgiveness and a second chance.

The mayor described Twitty as contrite and remorseful during his "extensive" talks with her about the Vinita Park opening. McGee said he was aware of circumstances that cost Twitty the Ferguson job she had held for nearly two decades. But he said Twitty was the most-qualified applicant.

"If we can find the best candidate — I don't care if he or she is black, white, blue or green — I'm gonna bring them in," McGee said.

"Did she make a mistake? Yeah. We all do. But does she have to pay for that for the rest of her life? No."

A man who answered Twitty's home telephone Friday said Twitty was shopping and unavailable for comment. She didn't return a message left by the AP.

Vinita Park Alderman Richard Redel said that when the city's governing board signed off on hiring Twitty, "no one said where she came from and why she was unemployed." Redel said the board was told only that the local court needed part-time help and that Twitty was qualified.