In the past year or so, a string of high-profile officer-involved shootings has caught the attention of state lawmakers across the country. A number of legislatures passed bills this year that make police departments more accountable.
But in Missouri, where the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown sparked deeper conversations about race and policing, there hasn't been much legislative movement.
When waves of protests and rioting throughout the St. Louis area followed Brown's death, it was hard for State Sen. Bob Dixon to turn away.
Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 3:47 pm
Changing a process that was blamed for fueling anger and frustration with the legal system in Ferguson, Mo., 80 municipal courts in St. Louis County have agreed to set uniform fees and fines to be more fair to people charged with offenses such as speeding.
Critics call the move one step on what they see as a long path of reform. They note that the agreement is voluntary and lacks a formal system of tracking or enforcement.
A new report says an issue highlighted recently in Ferguson, Mo. — that tickets and fines disproportionately burden people of color and the poor, and lead to their incarceration — is not limited to Missouri.
Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 8:06 am
In a new challenge to police practices in Ferguson, Mo., a group of civil rights lawyers is suing the city over the way people are jailed when they fail to pay fines for traffic tickets and other minor offenses.
The lawsuit, filed Sunday night on the eve of the six-month anniversary of the police shooting of Michael Brown, alleges that the city violates the Constitution by jailing people without adequately considering whether they were indigent and, as a result, unable to pay.
Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 1:52 pm
Now more than ever, America needs productive conversations about race, stereotyping, police, crime and social justice. And too often, our national media continues to fall short.
After many years of dissecting how race works in media, I was both disappointed and but, sadly, not surprised by much of the coverage so far. It repeats many of the same mistakes we've seen for years in how we talk about race-fueled controversies in America.