If the Black residents of Ferguson, Mo., want to radically reform the political climate that encouraged police to disproportionately ticket, fine and arrest them to collect revenue for the city coffers, they’ll have to do more than embrace non-violent acts of civil disobedience and peaceful protests – they will have to vote.
In the north St. Louis suburb that is nearly 70 percent Black, five of six city council members are White and the mayor is a White Republican. The police force is almost 95 percent White.
On April 7, voters in Ferguson will go to the polls in a round of highly-anticipated elections for three out of the six of the city council seats. Continue Reading →
As Eric Holder ended his tenure as U.S. Attorney General, he said, “The troubling reality is that we lack the ability right now to comprehensively track the number of incidents of either uses of force directed at police officers, or uses of force by police,” he said, at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event. “This strikes many – including me – as unacceptab Continue Reading →
The Justice Department’s recent investigation of the Ferguson, Mo. Police Department not only revealed widespread racism in its operation, but described how poor Blacks were targeted to boost the sagging revenues of small municipalities.
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By Luke Tripp
To understand why the grand jury in Missouri failed to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, we need know a little legal history: Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), was a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Dred Scott v. Sanford, Supreme Court judges considered this key question: Did the citizenship rights guaranteed by the Constitution apply to African Americans? The Supreme Court decided the case by a 7 to 2 decision that Black people were not American citizens. They reasoned that people of African ancestry had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the White race, either in social or political relations — and so far inferior that they had no rights which the White man was bound to respect. This decision continues to be the guiding constitutional principle of the legal system in the U.S. The grand jury’s decision in Missouri is evidence that the criminal justice system (CJS) is morally bankrupt. Continue Reading →
As we watch closely the events in Ferguson and greater St. Louis County, Missouri, we are disturbed to hear Democrats and Republicans say it is somehow related to the threat to America’s national security, as if Ferguson represents the beginning of an invasion from otherwise uninvolved Black communities. As threats are made by real terrorists to fly their flag over the White House, we appreciate the personal and nationalist threats but not the suggestion it represents Black Americans. The sense of foreboding from the realness of the threats is being used as an excuse to tighten security for greater control of neighborhoods of color unrelated to the national security issues, as Ferguson demonstrates regarding the new debate over the militarization of urban police. The Black community is keenly aware that not since the roundup of Japanese Americans during the Second World War, and the creation of internment camps, and the expression of fear during the urban riots of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, has the Negro population been as unfairly painted as a threat to our national security. Continue Reading →
Community members want more than talk — they’re ready for action
By Charles Hallman
All DFL candidates should “represent” Black issues, says a member of the DFL African American Caucus, one of 14 recognized special-interest groups by the Minnesota DFL Party. The group meets on the third Saturday of each month. However, according to Hollis Winston, who joined the Black caucus nearly two years ago and was elected treasurer last year, most Black Minnesotans who tend to vote Democratic in local, state and national elections are too often taken for granted. Hollis says the group must be more visible and expand its membership base, especially among community folk. “Now that I have gotten involved, more and more I am realizing we need to connect with the African American community, all African Americans — not just the professional class or the middle class.”
Last week’s open meeting at the Lowry Library was attended by 30 persons who listed education, law enforcement and economic development as three key issues of concern. Continue Reading →
By Mel Reeves
The MSR sent writer Mel Reeves to Ferguson, Missouri to personally observe and report on the aftermath of unrest there following an incident of police violence that left a young Black man dead and triggered an outbreak of protests and rioting. Last week, in “Mike Brown is laid to rest,” his observations were from the funeral. This week, he describes events leading up to the funeral.
Saturday, August 23
It’s hot in St. Louis and extremely humid yesterday. Continue Reading →
By Mel Reeves
The MSR sent writer Mel Reeves to Ferguson, Missouri to personally observe and report on the aftermath of unrest there following an incident of police violence that left a young Black man dead and triggered an outbreak of protests and rioting. Beginning this week, Reeves provides a journal of his observations and conversations with local people about what has happened there and what the future portends.
Dispatches from Ferguson
FERGUSON, MO — At 10 am on Monday, August 25, the time of the Michael Brown funeral, it was very hot, around 97 degrees and humid. The press was out in full force, and folks could barely get into the Friendly Temple church without nearly being assaulted by the media, which clearly were trying hard to find a different angle on grief. For those who may have somehow missed the unfolding of this tragic story, shortly after noon on Saturday, August 9, an unarmed Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. A candlelight vigil that turned violent was followed by two weeks of rioting, looting, and street battles with police and National Guard troops along with some peaceful protests and continuing disclosures of the longstanding racial tensions in this mostly Black community governed by mostly White elected officials. Continue Reading →
It has happened here. Could it happen again? Police won’t say. News Analysis
By Isaac Peterson
Last year, long before most people had heard of Ferguson, Missouri, the United States Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, in essence declaring that racism in the United States had ended. Fast-forward more than a year and Ferguson resembles nothing more than a warzone after the protests over the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer. Continue Reading →