On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri, by police officer Darren Wilson. Members of the Ferguson community rose up in response. Protests demanding that police violence against African Americans cease and that accountability for police misconduct be addressed erupted across the country, and they have not subsided since. Incidents in Baltimore, Maryland; Chicago, Illinois; WallerCounty, Texas; and elsewhere have kept the movement alive. The mass media, the political elite, and the White middle class woke up to a reality that had been long known to communities of color – force is used disproportionately against people of color, and this has caused a breakdown in trust between the police and the communities they serve. There are many causes for this breakdown in trust. Police officers are the faces of a criminal justice system that has dramatically disproportionate negative effects based on race and economic status. Practices like stop-and-frisk and broken windows policing have put people of color in hostile contact with law enforcement on a daily basis. The imposition of excessive fines and court fees in some communities has created severe criminal consequences often for traffic or other minor offenses.
Jonathan M. Smith,
Closing the Gap Between What is Lawful and What is Right in Police Use of Force Jurisprudence by Making Police Departments More Democratic Institutions,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol21/iss2/7