by Doctor Science
Why the Fires in Ferguson Won't End Soon by Jamelle Bouie, in Slate.
Talk to anyone in Ferguson and you'll hear a story about the police. "One of my friends had a son killed by the Ferguson Police Department, about 10 years ago," said Carl Walker, a Vietnam veteran and former parole officer who came to show his support for demonstrators in Ferguson. "They wouldn't release the name of the officer who killed him. Why wouldn't you release the name?"Read the whole article, talk about how it seems to you. Very important data, not referenced in the article: Nobody Knows How Many Americans The Police Kill Each Year. Nobody. That figure of "400 justifiable police homicides per year" you've seen kicking around? Certainly too low, quite possibly *much* too low.
"The cops said he shot at them—case closed," said Al Cole, referring to a cousin who was killed by Ferguson police in 2000. "Even as a teenager, 13 or 14 years old, I've been slammed on police cars … now I try to avoid riding through Ferguson."
"Some police say they saw me at a house, pulled me, said I fit a description, locked me up, and found out I was on parole," said Craig Beck, who was watching demonstrators under the shade of a burned-out QuikTrip convenience store. "They said I threw a plastic baggie, which they didn't have when they took me into custody." He continues: "I beat the case, but you know, this isn't new. This happens every day."
Everyone—or at least, every black person—can recall an incident. Everyone can attest to friends and relatives who have been harassed, assaulted, or worse by the police.
The underlying problems of white flight, discrimination, and disinvestment will remain, and—absent a dramatic and unexpected change—they'll persist into the next generation. We may never see another "Trayvon Martin" in Sanford, Florida, but I'm positive we'll see another "Michael Brown" in Ferguson, Missouri.
Or somewhere else. Soon enough, demonstrators will be chanting the name of another young black man killed by another agent of the state charged with containing blacks, not protecting them. We want it to be one way—a world where the police are here to serve us all—but it's the other way, a world where black bodies are the chief targets of American fear.