I am not making excuses for anybody, just saying how things are.
"Of the 60 courts St. Louis County municipal courts observed by ArchCity, 30 were accused of engaging in illegal or harmful practices. “Three courts, Bel-Ridge, Florissant, and Ferguson, were chronic offenders and serve as prime examples of how these practices violate fundamental rights of the poor, undermine public confidence in the judicial system, and create inefficiencies,” according to the report.
The paper points out that in Ferguson, 86 percent of vehicle stops “involved a black motorist, although blacks make up just 67 percent of the population.” In addition, blacks stopped in Ferguson “are almost twice as likely as whites to be searched (12.1 percent versus 6.9 percent) and twice as likely to be arrested (10.4 percent versus 5.2 percent)”. Searches of blacks only results in discovery of contraband 21.7 percent of the time, whereas contraband is recovered from their less frequently stopped white counterparts 34.0 percent of the time.
Municipalities’ seeming willigness to profit off of minorities has undoubtedly fueled the flames ignited by Brown’s shooting. One resident quoted in the study said, “It’s ridiculous how these small municipalities make their lifeline off the blood of the people who drive through the area.”
Twenty-two percent of Ferguson residents live below the poverty line, and 21.7 percent receive food stamps. The unemployment rate in the town is 14.3 percent, or more than double that of St. Louis County and Missouri as a whole.
“Despite Ferguson’s relative poverty, fines and court fees comprise the second largest source of revenue for the city, a total of 2,635,400,” according to the ArchCity Defenders report. And in 2013, the Ferguson Municipal Court issued 24,532 arrest warrants and 12,018 cases, “or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.”
Exacerbating the problem, the report says, are "a number of operational procedures that make it even more difficult for defendants to navigate the courts." A Ferguson court employee reported, for example, that “the bench routinely starts hearing cases 30 minutes before the appointed time and then locks the doors to the building as early as five minutes after the official hour, a practice that could easily lead a defendant arriving even slightly late to receive an additional charge for failure to appear.”
Thomas Harvey, co-founder and executive director of ArchCity Defenders and one of the paper’s authors, says that residents’ perception that the system is unfairly stacked against them gives important context for the depth of the present outrage.
“There are 90 municipalities in St. Louis County that range from 12 people to 50,000 people. Eighty-six of them have their own courts. They have their own police forces,” he explains. “What ends up being the product of all that is just a low-level sense of harassment on a daily basis. The clients that we represent feel that. It’s palpable for them.”
“They resent it because it’s not about public safety,” he adds. “These aren’t violent criminals. These are poor people.”"
I had to ask myself after watching this documentary video if there was any truth in it or if it was just Russian propoganda. I came to the conclusion that it does not really matter which because it shows the human condition in this world in which we live. Today we may sit comfortably in our living rooms watching the news on T.V and see and hear of trouble here or there in other far away places. A war in Israel, in Syria, in Iraq, in ukraine . . . . all so far away and not really felt by us.
But I think sometimes we tend to forget that those people . . . . those people in those far away places are, except for their nationality, language, or religion, are not really in the last analysis, that terribly different from us. They love, they hate, they win, they lose, they live, they die.
I can't help but think that, although it has never happened in my lifetime, that some day we will be visited with all the things shown in this video. I see the faces and hear the people speak, and though I don't understand their language, I do understand their feelings . . . . their emotions. I could empathize with the final scene of the video. It gave me the feeling that I can and will do what I must to preserve the land and the people that I love . . . . but in the end it is not in my hands . . . . but God's.
I realize in posting this that few will read the whole thing due to it's technical nature and it's length. I also realize that many have their minds made up as to what occurred that day because of what the U.S. government and the U.S. media has been has been printing and showing on TV. I will post it anyway in hopes that some will manage to finish it and reflect on it's content with an open mind.