Monday, August 10, 2015

Andrea S. Boyles

Andrea S. Boyles is the author of Race, Place, and Suburban Policing.

From her Q & A at the University of California Press blog:

You begin the preface of Race, Place, and Suburban Policing with the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson (e.g., a St. Louis suburb). On the year anniversary of his death, what do you see that has changed?

A lot has happened since Mike Brown’s death, from increased social awareness and grassroots mobilization efforts to the grand jury’s decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson and additional Black citizen-police conflicts.

More directly, in the wake of the Department of Justice (DOJ) report, the following changes occurred within Ferguson’s city government:

John Shaw, the city manager, resigned. The DOJ investigation found him encouraging the use of the municipal court in generating revenue for the suburb; Municipal Court Judge Ronald Brockmeyer resigned. Brockmeyer presided over the Ferguson municipal court, where DOJ found racially discriminate practices to be pervasive. He was replaced by a MO Supreme Court state appointed judge; Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned. It was determined by the DOJ that his officers engaged in problematic policing tactics & used citizens to generate city revenue; the DOJ investigation also turned up racist emails, consequently, leading to the firing of two police officers and a court clerk in connection; a citizen review task force has been appointed to vet and make recommendations for establishing a Ferguson citizen review board; and following the first municipal election after Mike Brown’s death, Ferguson’s City Council now has three black council persons out of six. Previously, there had only been one.

Other occurrences included the use of body cameras by Ferguson police officers, the replacement of two makeshift Mike Brown memorials at the scene of his shooting with a bronze dove and plaque on what would have been his 19th birthday; modified practices with the municipal court and its response to citizens; increased community activities and partnerships such as volunteerism, activism, job fairs, and revitalization efforts for Ferguson schools, businesses, and neighborhoods. Furthermore, there is a push for reform in the entire St. Louis region, particularly as there are additional DOJ investigations underway and black citizens in the inner-city and suburbs face on-going bias treatment in a wide array of ways across the social spectrum.

In sum, there have been quite a few changes—subtle/overt, better/worse, immediate/forthcoming—throughout the year in Ferguson. Hence, it is important to note that “change” can be broadly interpreted, particularly when accounting for power and privilege or the lack thereof as experienced in everyday living among diverse populations. Nevertheless, the aftereffects from Mike Brown’s death and other cases alike are...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue