In the spirit of the Slate series “If It Happened There,” I attempt to write in the manner similar to how American journalists cover issues abroad.
On Wednesday, tension between rival ethnic clans renewed, yet again, after the Department of Justice, a governmental entity charged with federal criminal enforcement of lower jurisdictions, issued a report detailing the extent to which the municipal region of Ferguson utilized racist and prejudicial law enforcement tactics to reinforce the racial caste system on which the entire American state is built.
Located within the territory of Missouri, Ferguson has been under intense international scrutiny following the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed Black teenager who was executed by Officer Darren Wilson (an authority figure within the White clan) on August 9th, 2014. In a public display of terror, the Ferguson Police Department–the security arm of the local White community of which Officer Wilson was part–kept his bloodied, bullet-ridden body in the street uncovered for approximately four and a half hours.
Members of the Black clan found such actions deplorable, and incited protests that flooded the streets across multiple territories. They were joined by members of other racial clans, who were startled by the gross display of White racial insensitivity. Ordinarily, White authoritative figures and civilians alike are less bold in their racist tendencies, allowing the controversial social precedent of “colorblindness” to ripple throughout the fractured American state.
Amidst growing public pressure, a reluctant Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, conducted a seven-month investigation that concluded on Wednesday. Holder, unlike his predecessors, is a high-ranking member of the Black clan, and has been unnaturally ambitious in applying legal mechanisms to improve inter-tribal issues.
Despite his substantial track record, he oftentimes falls short. Just a few weeks ago, the D.O.J. failed to identify fault in White clansman George Zimmerman who, in 2011, killed the unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin in a manner similar to that of the death of Mike Brown. The D.O.J. further failed to charge Officer Wilson in violating the civil rights of Mike Brown, instead reasoning that Officer Wilson did not meet federal statutes which require acknowledgement that his actions are wrong, illegal, and morally unjust.
Not without a sense of irony, an adjacent 105-page report revealed that the militarized Ferguson security unit relied on longstanding racial bias to generate revenue for the municipality. The report found routine and sanctioned targeting of the Black tribe with undue and unconstitutional fines, tickets, and arrests for minor infractions. One ordinance titled “Manner of Walking” is an example of the criminalization of the most basic behavior in the Black community, and was met with intense public criticism.
The Black community, particularly those members housed in Ferguson, have been vocal in their criticisms of local White quasi-military units. They claim that racist policing practices are not unique to the troubled municipality, a sentiment that President Barack Obama, the first serving executive to hail from the Black tribe, agreed with in an interview.
*Feature Image Credit: www.redalertpolitics.com (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Anna Erickson)