Ferguson and the Police State

In August, Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Yesterday, a grand jury failed to indict him for any wrongdoing in Brown’s death. Let’s look at some numbers.

18: Michael Brown’s age at the time of his murder

6: The number of times Brown was shot

50: The number of white police officers in Ferguson

3: The number of black police officers in Ferguson

60: Percent of black residents in Ferguson

12: The total number of grand jurors

9: The number of white jurors

3: The number of black jurors

431: The number of “justified” homicides by police in 2013, as reported by the FBI

? : The number of “non-justified” homicide by police, as not reported by the FBI

8: The percent increase in police homicide (again, according to the FBI) from 2012 to 2013

100+ : The number of (primarily black) suspects Chicago police detective Jon Burge tortured in interrogations over a number of years

4.5 : The number of years Jon Burge served in prison after conviction

4-20: The mandatory minimum and maximum an individual would serve in Chicago for possession of 2000 grams of marijuana

54,000: The amount of pension money Jon Burge still continues to collect from the Chicago Police

Wanton, militarized over-policing poisons relations between a people and their government. Police immunity from punishment makes it worse. This abuse of power deserves a broader, bolder, and more urgent response – today.


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