Poor, Black and 'Wanted': Criminal Justice in Ferguson and Baltimore
17 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 20, 2015
Ferguson, Missouri is everywhere. This has been an enduring and sad lesson in the year since Michael Brown was killed. The national spotlight has moved throughout cities and towns across the United States, as unarmed Black men, women and children have been killed by police officers at an exhausting pace. Mr. Brown’s death has caused stakeholders to grasp and examine the similarities between the wide range of issues impacting Ferguson’s Black communities and their respective communities. Thus, the events in Ferguson have been the source of reflection, examination and action. In that spirit, this essay looks at some similarities between Ferguson and Baltimore, which have grown despairingly closer in light of Freddie Gray’s death in April 2015. Specifically, the essay explores the vast capacities of the criminal justice systems in these two cities to police and prosecute communities of color, particularly for low-level crimes that flood the criminal court dockets in both jurisdictions. It then focuses on ways in which poor, Black residents in Ferguson and Baltimore remain stuck in the criminal justice system because of court-issued warrants.
Keywords: ferguson, baltimore, freddie gray, warrants, surrender programs, criminal justice, poverty
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