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Police in Ferguson Missouri

Police in Ferguson, Missouri.

The US Department of Justice found many, many things wrong in its investigation into the Ferguson Police Department, including a pattern of racial bias. But perhaps the most disturbing findings were the racist email exchanges between police and court officials, which show outright hostility and prejudice toward the St. Louis suburb’s black residents.

Here are the seven emails the Justice Department uncovered, all of which come from current employees and were apparently sent during work hours:

  • A November 2008 email said President Barack Obama won’t be president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”
  • A March 2010 email mocked African Americans with horrible stereotypes about their families and how they speak. One line of the email read, “I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment! Month after month, year after year, all dose payments!”
  • An April 2011 email depicted President Obama as a chimpanzee.
  • A May 2011 email said, “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.'”
  • A June 2011 email said a man wanted to obtain “welfare” for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.”
  • An October 2011 email had a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women, apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama’s High School Reunion.”
  • A December 2011 email made jokes based off offensive stereotypes about Muslims.

The Justice Department found no evidence that any of the police and court officials who engaged in these emails were ever disciplined. The investigation also found no indication that any official asked the sender to stop sending such emails, or any proof that the emails were reported. “Instead, the emails were usually forwarded along to others,” the report stated.

The emails back an important point made by the Justice Department: the report argued the disparities in law enforcement can only be explained, at least in part, by unlawful bias and stereotypes against African-Americans. The exchanges show that outright racism very clearly.

The report noted that, although black people make up about 67 percent of Ferguson’s population, 88 percent of documented uses of force by Ferguson police from 2010 to August 2014 were against African Americans. In the 14 police canine bite cases for which racial data was available, the people bitten were black.

There were similar racial disparities in traffic stops. From 2012 to 2014, 85 percent of people stopped, 90 percent of people who received a citation, and 93 percent of people arrested were black. Black drivers were more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to be searched during vehicle stops, but 26 percent less likely to have contraband.

Watch: Why recording the police is so important

//www.youtube.com/embed/6wAkbovfTeA </center>\r\n<p></p>\r\n<p>On August 9, Wilson was leaving from a previous call when he stopped Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, for jaywalking. The situation escalated, with <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">conflicting reports</a> on what led to the fatal shooting and how it played out.</p>\r\n<p>Wilson <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/11/25/7279623/ferguson-grand-jury-evidence\">said</a> Brown was violent throughout the encounter. He said the 18-year-old tried to take his gun and charged at him through a hail of gunfire. Wilson characterized Brown as a demon-like, dead-eyed giant \u2014 a comparison some have <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/11/25/7283327/michael-brown-racist-stereotypes\">linked</a> to racial stereotypes historically deployed by police to justify use of force against black men and boys.</p>\r\n<p>In <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/exclusive-watch-george-stephanopoulos-full-interview-police-officer-27186831\">an interview</a> with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, Wilson said he has a clean conscience about the shooting. While Wilson said he felt sorry for Brown’s family, he said he was just doing his job and wouldn’t do anything differently.</p>\r\n<p>There have been some protests in support of Wilson, with protesters saying Wilson is being victimized for <a href=\"http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/18/ferguson-supporters-police-killed-teenager-protest\">\"doing his job.\"</a> The pro-Wilson support group even started a <a href=\"http://www.gofundme.com/SupportOfficerWilson\">GoFundMe</a> and <a href=\"http://teespring.com/SupportDarrenWilson\">T-shirt campaign</a> to help the officer in case he incurs legal fees due to his prosecution, as Slate’s Dave Weigel <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2014/08/19/officer_darren_wilson_s_online_support_group_is_as_classy_as_you_d_expect.html\">reported</a>.<a href=\"http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/18/ferguson-supporters-police-killed-teenager-protest\"><br></a></p>"},{"id":5785626,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/was-it-legal-for-officer-darren-wilson-to-shoot-michael-brown&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/was-it-legal-for-officer-darren-wilson-to-shoot-michael-brown?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/5785626&quot;,"title":"Was the shooting of Michael Brown legal?","status":"Published","body":"<p>In the 1980s, a pair of Supreme Court decisions \u2014&nbsp;<i><a href=\"http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=471&invol=1\">Tennessee vs. Garner</a></i> and&nbsp;<i><a href=\"http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/490/386/case.html\">Graham v. Connor</a></i> \u2014&nbsp;set up a framework for determining when deadly force by cops is reasonable.</p>\r\n<p>Constitutionally, \"police officers are allowed to shoot under two circumstances,\" David Klinger, a University of Missouri-St. Louis professor who studies use of force, told&nbsp;<a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/13/5994305/michael-brown-case-investigation-legal-police-kill-force-murder\">Vox</a>. The first circumstance is \"to protect their life or the life of another innocent party\" \u2014 what departments call the \"defense-of-life\" standard. The second circumstance is to prevent a suspect from escaping, but only if the officer has probable cause to think the suspect has committed a serious violent felony.</p>\r\n<p>The logic behind the second circumstance, Klinger said, comes from a Supreme Court decision called&nbsp;<i>Tennessee vs. Garner</i>. That case involved a pair of police officers who shot a 15-year-old boy as he fled from a burglary. (He’d stolen $10 and a purse from a house.) The court ruled that cops couldn’t shoot every felon who tried to escape. But, as Klinger said, \"they basically say that the job of a cop is to protect people from violence, and if you’ve got a violent person who’s fleeing, you can shoot them to stop their flight.\"</p>\r\n<p><img alt=\"Hands up Ferguson\" class=\"small\" src=\"http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657518/453681886.0.jpg\"></p>\r\n<p class=\"caption\">Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)</p>\r\n<p>The key to both of the legal standards \u2014 defense-of-life and fleeing a violent felony \u2014 is that it doesn’t matter whether there is an actual threat when force is used. Instead, what matters is the officer’s \"objectively reasonable\" belief that there is a threat.</p>\r\n<p>That standard comes from the other Supreme Court case that guides use-of-force decisions: <i>Graham v. Connor</i>. This was a civil lawsuit brought by a man who’d survived his encounter with police officers, but who’d been treated roughly, had his face shoved into the hood of a car, and broken his foot \u2014 all while he was suffering a diabetic attack. The court didn’t rule on whether the officers’ treatment of him had been justified, but it did say that the officers couldn’t justify their conduct just based on whether their intentions were good. They had to demonstrate that their actions were \"objectively reasonable,\" given the circumstances and compared to what other police officers might do.</p>\r\n<p>And what’s \"objectively reasonable\" changes as the circumstances change. \"The moment that you no longer present a threat, I need to stop shooting,\" Klinger said. According to the St. Louis County Police Department’s account, Wilson fired one shot from inside the police car. But Brown was reportedly killed 150 feet away, after several shots had been fired. To justify the shooting, Wilson would need to demonstrate that he feared for his life not just when Brown was by the car, but even after he started shooting. The officer would need to establish that, right up until the last shot was fired, he felt Brown continued to pose a threat to him whether he actually was or not.</p>\r\n<p>\"One can’t just say, ‘Because I could use deadly force ten seconds ago, that means I can use deadly force again now,’\" says&nbsp;<span>Walter Katz, a California attorney who specializes in oversight of law enforcement agencies.</span></p>"},{"id":5766394,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-investigation-facts-details&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-investigation-facts-details?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/5766394&quot;,"title":"Is the Michael Brown shooting being investigated?","status":"Published","body":"<p>A grand jury investigated the August 9 death of <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-ferguson-MO-protests\" target=\"_blank\">Michael Brown</a> and decided <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/11/24/7087825/darren-wilson-not-indicted-michael-brown-ferguson\" target=\"_blank\">not to indict</a> Ferguson Police officer <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-police-officer-darren-wilson\" target=\"_blank\">Darren Wilson</a> for the shooting. The federal government also conducted its own investigations, ultimately deciding to <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2015/3/4/8148861/darren-wilson-justice-department\">not press civil rights charges</a> against Wilson but finding <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/justice-department-investigation-ferguson-police-racism\">systemic racial bias</a> at the Ferguson Police Department.</p>\r\n<p>St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, who had full control of the evidence presented to the grand jury, <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/19/6044833/former-federal-prosecutor-suggests-da-is-abdicating-responsibility-in\">promised</a> that \"absolutely everything will be presented to the grand jury. Every scrap of paper that we have. Every photograph that was taken.\" City, county, and federal officials helped gather and submit evidence to the grand jury.</p>\r\n<div class=\"align-right\">\r\n<p> <span style=\"’position:relative;’\">\n <img alt=\"Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson\" class=\"vox-lazy-load m-chorus-asset__in-entry-body\" data-chorus-asset-id=\"657674\" data-full-size=\"https://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/vXMc9uNfyQ2DhKb62np4ajR0ULc=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657674/453502582.0.jpg\" data-original=\"https://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657674/453502582.0.jpg\" src=\"data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==\">\n <noscript>\n <img alt=\"Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson\" src=\"https://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/vXMc9uNfyQ2DhKb62np4ajR0ULc=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657674/453502582.0.jpg\">\n</noscript> </span>\n</p>\r\n<p class=\"caption\">Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson. (Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images News)</p>\r\n</div>\r\n<p>Protesters and experts criticized McCulloch’s approach, which included presenting <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/12/19/7425533/robert-mcculloch-perjury\">evidence he knew was false</a>. Some experts speculated this approach was meant to flood the grand jury with too much evidence to obfuscate the case and make an indictment less likely. \"The prosecutors didn’t want to indict,\" former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin told <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/14/justice/ferguson-witnesses-credibility/\">CNN</a>. \"That’s why they conducted it that way.\"</p>\r\n<p><a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/12/31/7468775/grand-jury\">Grand juries</a> can be easily manipulated by prosecutors like McCulloch to let cops escape trial. Prosecutors have full control of the evidence presented to grand jurors. But they also need to forge close ties with police officers to be successful at their everyday jobs, since law enforcement usually investigate the criminal cases they’re working on. \"They do work in the courts \u2026 everyday with police officers,\" Thomas Nolan, a criminologist at the Merrimack College of Massachusetts, <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/12/31/7468775/grand-jury\">said</a>. \"They forge professional relationships with them. Sometimes they have personal relationships with them.\"</p>\r\n<p><span>The federal government also investigated whether the shooting violated Brown’s civil rights, ultimately deciding to file no charges against Wilson. Prosecutors would have to find Wilson </span><i>willfully </i><span>violated Brown’s rights \u2014 a very high legal bar \u2014 to press charges. </span>Prosecutors would have to show, <a href=\"http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/us/justice-department-ferguson-civil-rights-darren-wilson.html?_r=0\">the New York Times</a> explained, that Wilson knew it was wrong to fire but did so anyway.</p>\r\n<p>The federal government also investigated the Ferguson Police Department as a whole, finding <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/justice-department-investigation-ferguson-police-racism\">a pattern of racial bias</a> and even examples of outright racism among local officials.</p>\r\n<p>The investigations have drawn on <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">eyewitness accounts</a> and the available photographic, video, and audio evidence.</p>\r\n<p>Missouri Governor Jay Nixon also launched a <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/xpress/2014/10/21/7029173/governor-jay-nixon-announces-ferguson-commission\">Ferguson Commission</a> to study and attempt to address the community’s fear and distrust in police and local officials following the shooting.</p>"},{"id":7914110,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/justice-department-investigation-ferguson-police-racism&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/justice-department-investigation-ferguson-police-racism?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/7914110&quot;,"title":"What did the Justice Department find in Ferguson?","status":"Published","body":"<p>In <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2015/3/3/8143859/ferguson-police-racism-justice-department\" target=\"_blank\">a searing report</a>, the US Department of Justice uncovered a pattern of racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department. And it argued that the disparities can only be explained, at least in part, by unlawful bias and stereotypes against African Americans.</p>\r\n<p>The report noted that, although black people make up about 67 percent of Ferguson’s population, 88 percent of documented uses of force by Ferguson police from 2010 to August 2014 were against African Americans. In the 14 police canine bite cases for which racial data was available, the people bitten were black.</p>\r\n<p>There were similar racial disparities in traffic stops. From 2012 to 2014, 85 percent of people stopped, 90 percent of people who received a citation, and 93 percent of people arrested were black. Black drivers were more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to be searched during vehicle stops, but 26 percent less likely to have contraband.</p>\r\n<p>Some people’s interactions with police turned downright abusive, as the report <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2015/3/4/8149337/doj-ferguson-report-police-racism\" target=\"_blank\">described</a>:</p>\r\n<blockquote>\r\n<p>We spoke with one African-American man who, in August 2014, had an argument in his apartment to which FPD officers responded, and was immediately pulled out of the apartment by force. After telling the officer, \"you don’t have a reason to lock me up,\" he claims the officer responded: \"N*****, I can find something to lock you up on.\" When the man responded, \"good luck with that,\" the officer slammed his face into the wall, and after the man fell to the floor, the officer said, \"don’t pass out motherf****r because I’m not carrying you to my car.\"</p>\r\n</blockquote>\r\n<p>The Justice Department also uncovered <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2015/3/4/8149699/ferguson-police-racist-jokes\" target=\"_blank\">at least seven racist jokes</a> police and court officials exchanged over email, all of which come from current employees and were apparently sent during work hours. One of the emails, from November 2008, said President Barack Obama won’t be president for long because \"what black man holds a steady job for four years.\"</p>\r\n<p>The Justice Department found no evidence that any of the police and court officials who engaged in these emails were ever disciplined. The investigation also found no indication that any official asked the sender to stop sending such emails, or any proof that the emails were reported. \"Instead, the emails were usually forwarded along to others,\" the report stated.</p>\r\n<p>The emails show, as the Justice Department suggests, that at least some of the disparities in local law enforcement can be explained by outright racism.</p>"},{"id":5766400,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-mo-protests-police&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-mo-protests-police?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/5766400&quot;,"title":"What happened in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting and grand jury decision?","status":"Published","body":"<p>Following <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">the shooting of Michael Brown</a>, Ferguson residents regularly took to the streets to protest what many view as unfair treatment of the black community. Police responded with a highly armed presence meant to contain demonstrators and prevent violence.</p>\r\n<p>After <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/11/24/7087825/darren-wilson-not-indicted-michael-brown-ferguson\">the grand jury decision</a> to not indict Ferguson Police officer <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-police-officer-darren-wilson\">Darren Wilson</a>, demonstrations briefly escalated<a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/xpress/2014/11/24/7279437/darren-wilson-charges-protest\"></a>. Some protesters got violent and reportedly fired shots and set buildings and cars on fire. (These acts of violence were <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://twitter.com/deray/status/537096949065736193\">disavowed</a> by protest leaders, who have tried to keep the demonstrations peaceful.)</p>\r\n<p><img alt=\"Ferguson protests police\" class=\"small\" src=\"http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657752/453575526.0.jpg\"></p>\r\n<p class=\"caption\">A police officer watches over protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. (Scott Olson / Getty Images News)</p>\r\n<p>The protests have been <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-peace-violent-violence-looting\">very volatile</a>, largely depending on the latest news. Sometimes the atmosphere is essentially festive, with police taking little to no action against demonstrators. Other times reports of thrown objects, gunshots, Molotov cocktails, and looting prompted police action, and the situation often spiraled into further chaos. Protesters and media complained that police at times moved in when the demonstrators were acting largely peacefully, which caused the situation to <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/20/6047853/michael-brown-ferguson-protests-police-community-leaders-peaceful\">unnecessarily escalate</a>.</p>\r\n<p>Law enforcement officials deployed <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-ferguson-mo-st-louis-military-militarized-army-tear-gas\">heavily armed teams</a> to try to contain the situation. Police blocked the roads and dispersed protesters on several nights with military-grade equipment, including body armor, rifles, tear gas, rubber bullets, and even armored, mine-resistant vehicles that are basically tanks. The goal, they argued, was to keep protesters from blocking the roads and prevent violence.</p>"},{"id":5766404,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-causes-history-facts-details&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-causes-history-facts-details?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/5766404&quot;,"title":"Is the black community represented in Ferguson’s government?","status":"Published","body":"<p>The immediate catalyst of the protests was <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">the shooting and killing of Michael Brown</a>. But the underlying cause is years of racial tensions between Ferguson’s minority communities, police, and local government.</p>\r\n<p>Prior to the shooting, Americans were already widely discussing the history of police violence against black men, <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-protests-police-racism\">racial disparities in the criminal justice system</a>, and racism in general. This conversation particularly resonated as the deaths of <a href=\"http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/05/us/trayvon-martin-shooting-fast-facts/\">Trayvon Martin</a>, <a href=\"http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/15/justice/florida-loud-music-trial/\">Jordan Davis</a>, and <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/12/3/7327745/eric-garner-grand-jury-decision\">Eric Garner</a>, among others, permeated through the national media.</p>\r\n<p>In Ferguson in particular, the problems may have been further magnified by the lack of black representation in the local government. Ferguson is about 67 percent black, <a href=\"http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/29/2923986.html\">according to the US Census Bureau</a>. But Ferguson’s mayor and police chief are white, just one of six city council members is black, zero school board members are black, and only three out of 53 commissioned police officers are black, <a href=\"http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-missouri-st-louis-police-shooting-teen-20140811-story.html#page=1\">according to the Los Angeles Times</a>.</p>\r\n<p> <span style=\"’position:relative;’\">\n <img alt=\"Ferguson mayor James Knowles\" class=\"vox-lazy-load m-chorus-asset__in-entry-body\" data-chorus-asset-id=\"664236\" data-full-size=\"https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/pTfW4Z2pJdYY_RKYJWm0Af1ZXis=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/664236/453492514.0.jpg\" data-original=\"https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/664236/453492514.0.jpg\" src=\"data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==\">\n <noscript>\n <img alt=\"Ferguson mayor James Knowles\" src=\"https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/pTfW4Z2pJdYY_RKYJWm0Af1ZXis=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/664236/453492514.0.jpg\">\n</noscript> </span>\n</p>\r\n<p class=\"caption\">Ferguson Mayor James Knowles is white. (Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images News)</p>\r\n<p>The reason for these political disparities appears to be <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/14/6003793/why-is-fergusons-local-government-so-white/in/5757650\">low voter turnout</a> during local elections in March and April. MSNBC’s Zachary Roth <a href=\"http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/ferguson-lack-diversity-goes-way-beyond-its-cops?cid=sm_m_main_1_20140814_29785586\">wrote</a>, <span>\"This year, just 12.3 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, according to numbers provided by the county. In 2013 and 2012, those figures were even lower: 11.7 percent and 8.9 percent respectively. As a rule, the lower the turnout, the more the electorate skews white and conservative.\" </span>Terry Jones, a political science professor at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, echoed the sentiment in an email, writing that the city’s white residents \"are on average older in age and have resided in Ferguson longer. As a result, I estimate the electorate participating in the April municipal elections remains majority Caucasian.\"</p>\r\n<p>The disparities also apply to <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/21/6053281/the-real-cost-of-for-profit-policing-in-ferguson\">the disproportionate number</a> of police actions against black residents. <a href=\"http://ago.mo.gov/VehicleStops/2013/reports/161.pdf\">A report</a> from the Missouri attorney general’s office found that, although black people were 67 percent of Ferguson’s population in 2013, they made up more than 93 percent of arrests carried out by Ferguson police that same year.</p>\r\n<p>The statistics and ongoing disparities are why some experts argue that Ferguson’s \u2014 and America’s \u2014 problems run much deeper than the shooting of Michael Brown. \"The shooting of Michael Brown was the final straw for people in Ferguson,\" Darnell Hunt, a UCLA professor and expert on civil unrest and race relations <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/14/5999929/shooting-mike-brown-final-straw-ferguson-st-louis-missouri\">said</a>.</p>"},{"id":5766412,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-peace-violent-violence-looting&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-peace-violent-violence-looting?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/5766412&quot;,"title":"Are the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, peaceful?","status":"Published","body":"<p>The protests have been very volatile, ranging from wholly peaceful to total chaos largely depending on the latest news.</p>\r\n<p>When the protests first began and following the grand jury decision, the situation could change quite quickly and unpredictably. At times the atmosphere was essentially festive, with police taking little to no action against protesters; during these moments, demonstrators would march, chant, and even dance together as they took to the streets. Other times, a few violent protesters, who were widely condemned by community leaders, looted stores, set fire to buildings, fired guns, and threw Molotov cocktails and other objects at police.</p>\r\n<p> <span style=\"’position:relative;’\">\n <img alt=\"Ferguson protests\" class=\"vox-lazy-load m-chorus-asset__in-entry-body\" data-chorus-asset-id=\"658514\" data-full-size=\"https://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/BnCgL-1lfJNJ7HHut9EaBKT9SBs=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/658514/453764144.0.jpg\" data-original=\"https://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/658514/453764144.0.jpg\" src=\"data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==\">\n <noscript>\n <img alt=\"Ferguson protests\" src=\"https://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/BnCgL-1lfJNJ7HHut9EaBKT9SBs=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/658514/453764144.0.jpg\">\n</noscript> </span>\n</p>\r\n<p class=\"caption\">\"Hands up, don’t shoot\" has become a motto of the protests in Ferguson. (Scott Olson / Getty Images News)</p>\r\n<p>Police typically reacted to the violent moments with <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/14/6001995/ferguson-missouri-tear-gas-painful\">tear gas</a>, <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/14/6002497/ferguson-missouri-rubber-bullets-unsafe\">rubber bullets</a>, and <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/18/6003377/ferguson-military-gear\">sound cannons</a>. The police tactics sometimes dispersed the crowds, but they often led to further chaos. Protesters and media complained that police at times cracked down when demonstrators were acting peacefully, which caused the situation to <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/20/6047853/michael-brown-ferguson-protests-police-community-leaders-peaceful\">unnecessarily escalate</a>.</p>\r\n<p>\r\n<script charset=\"utf-8\" src=\"//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\"></script>\r\n</p>"},{"id":5766424,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-ferguson-mo-st-louis-military-militarized-army-tear-gas&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-ferguson-mo-st-louis-military-militarized-army-tear-gas?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/5766424&quot;,"title":"How did police handle the protests in Ferguson, Missouri?","status":"Published","body":"<p>When the protests broke out, various police departments <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/14/6002291/ferguson-police-st-louis-county-in-charge-jay-nixon-tear-gas-officer-fired\">converged</a> in Ferguson, Missouri, in an attempt to contain the situation.</p>\r\n<p>Police were equipped with military-grade hardware, including body armor, rifles, tear gas, rubber bullets, and even armored, mine-resistant vehicles that are basically tanks. The goal of all this equipment, police said, was to help keep protesters from blocking the streets and ensure no violence broke out.</p>\r\n<center>\r\n<p>https://vine.co/v/MYH3tmYBn9X/embed/simple\r\n<script src=\"//platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"></script>\r\n</p>\r\n</center>\r\n<p>These tactics were at various points criticized by <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/13/6000799/ferguson-governor-nixon-president-obama-need-to-get-control\">the media</a> and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/government-officials-ferguson-mo-obama-nixon\">federal and state officials</a> as <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/20/6047853/michael-brown-ferguson-protests-police-community-leaders-peaceful\">excessive and unnecessary</a>. Experts <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/8/14/6003239/police-militarization-in-ferguson\">say</a> crowd control should emphasize de-escalation and focus on maintaining order, and the militaristic response to the protesters is likely to provoke fear and defensiveness from the crowd. Amnesty International <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/10/25/7062375/michael-brown-ferguson-missouri-police-militarization\" target=\"_blank\">later criticized</a> the militarized response in Ferguson as a human rights abuse.</p>\r\n<p> <span style=\"’position:relative;’\">\n <img alt=\"Ferguson protests police\" class=\"vox-lazy-load m-chorus-asset__in-entry-body\" data-chorus-asset-id=\"657788\" data-full-size=\"https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/lcy0nvuHRueWqBPgPF0voVRVk1Y=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657788/453681830.0.jpg\" data-original=\"https://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657788/453681830.0.jpg\" src=\"data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==\">\n <noscript>\n <img alt=\"Ferguson protests police\" src=\"https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/lcy0nvuHRueWqBPgPF0voVRVk1Y=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657788/453681830.0.jpg\">\n</noscript> </span>\n</p>"},{"id":5766428,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-st-louis-military-equipment-tanks-tear-gas-rubber-bullets&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-st-louis-military-equipment-tanks-tear-gas-rubber-bullets?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/5766428&quot;,"title":"Why do police have military-grade equipment in the first place?","status":"Published","body":"<p>The federal government has been arming local police departments with military-grade equipment for decades through multiple federal schemes, including the 1033 program.</p>\r\n<p>The 1033 program transfers surplus military-grade equipment from the Pentagon to local police. But it does not provide training or oversight for the equipment’s use, although many local police departments provide their own training anyway.</p>\r\n<p>The program is also loaded with what many experts view as a perverse incentive: to keep the equipment, local police must deploy it at least once within a year. This incentive, some experts <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/2014/6/9/5793204/why-the-feds-are-putting-grenade-launchers-in-the-hands-of-local-cops\">argue</a>, might encourage police to use the weapons even when they’re not necessary.</p>\r\n<p> <span style=\"’position:relative;’\">\n <img alt=\"Ferguson protests police\" class=\"vox-lazy-load m-chorus-asset__in-entry-body\" data-chorus-asset-id=\"657790\" data-full-size=\"https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/yHPaXI9qQ3iUhPC2t34izZXkPd0=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657790/453681826.0.jpg\" data-original=\"https://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657790/453681826.0.jpg\" src=\"data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==\">\n <noscript>\n <img alt=\"Ferguson protests police\" src=\"https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/yHPaXI9qQ3iUhPC2t34izZXkPd0=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657790/453681826.0.jpg\">\n</noscript> </span>\n</p>\r\n<p class=\"caption\">Police watch over demonstrators in Ferguson. (Scott Olson / Getty Images News)</p>\r\n<p>Law enforcement in Ferguson and surrounding St. Louis County <a href=\"http://www.newsweek.com/how-americas-police-became-army-1033-program-264537\">have received</a> several pieces of equipment through the 1033 program, including rifles, night vision goggles, and utility trucks. The mine-resistant trucks seen in Ferguson reportedly came from another unnamed source, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Public Safety told <a href=\"http://www.newsweek.com/how-americas-police-became-army-1033-program-264537\">Newsweek</a>.</p>\r\n<p>The 1033 program is only one of several policies arming local police departments with this kind of equipment. Other programs from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice also subsidize or supply the gear to police.</p>\r\n<p>Mother Jones <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/swat-warrior-cops-police-militarization-urban-shield\">reported</a>: \"The Department of Defense has given $5.1 billion worth of equipment to state and local police departments since 1997, with even rural counties acquiring things like grenade launchers and armored personnel carriers. But Homeland Security has handed out grants worth eight times as much \u2014 $41 billion since 2002. The money is earmarked for counterterrorism, but DHS specifies that once acquired, the equipment can be used for any other law-enforcement purpose, from shutting down protests to serving warrants and executing home searches.\"</p>\r\n<p>The programs helped lead to <a href=\"http://cjmasters.eku.edu/sites/cjmasters.eku.edu/files/mayberry.pdf\">a proliferation of SWAT teams across the country</a>. With the new teams and equipment, local police have conducted <a href=\"http://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/overkill-rise-paramilitary-police-raids-america\">more SWAT raids</a>. <a href=\"https://www.aclu.org/war-comes-home-excessive-militarization-american-policing\">A report</a> from the American Civil Liberties Union found these raids are much more likely to hit predominantly black neighborhoods, while white neighborhoods are much less likely to be affected.</p>\r\n<p>In response to outcry against police militarization following the events in Ferguson, the Obama administration <a href=\"http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/us/in-washington-second-thoughts-on-arming-police.html\">ordered</a> a comprehensive review of the policies that supplied local police departments with military-grade equipment. The review will consider whether local police should have the equipment, whether they need to receive more training if they obtain the gear, and how the federal government can better oversee the equipment’s use.</p>"},{"id":5766430,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/government-officials-ferguson-mo-obama-nixon&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/government-officials-ferguson-mo-obama-nixon?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/5766430&quot;,"title":"How have government officials reacted to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri?","status":"Published","body":"<p>When the protests began, federal and state officials stepped in to try to de-escalate the situation in Ferguson.</p>\r\n<p>President Barack Obama <a href=\"http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/transcript-president-obamas-remarks-on-unrest-in-ferguson-mo-and-iraq/2014/08/14/c8ce971e-23c7-11e4-958c-268a320a60ce_story.html\">asked</a> for restraint from both sides. \"There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting,\" he said during a press conference. \"There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights. And here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground.\" Later on, the Obama administration also&nbsp;<a href=\"http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/us/in-washington-second-thoughts-on-arming-police.html\">called for a review</a> of <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-st-louis-military-equipment-tanks-tear-gas-rubber-bullets\">police militarization programs</a>.</p>\r\n<p>US Attorney General Eric Holder issued <a href=\"http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/August/14-ag-854.html\">a statement</a> that in part questioned the use of military equipment in Ferguson. \"At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community, I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message,\" he said. \"At my direction, Department [of Justice] officials have conveyed these concerns to local authorities.\"</p>\r\n<p> <span style=\"’position:relative;’\">\n <img alt=\"Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Ferguson protests\" class=\"vox-lazy-load m-chorus-asset__in-entry-body\" data-chorus-asset-id=\"657818\" data-full-size=\"https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/xAGnmw-XcVG8chrsj8yMzt1tDqU=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657818/453655756.0.jpg\" data-original=\"https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657818/453655756.0.jpg\" src=\"data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==\">\n <noscript>\n <img alt=\"Missouri Governor Jay Nixon Ferguson protests\" src=\"https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/xAGnmw-XcVG8chrsj8yMzt1tDqU=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/657818/453655756.0.jpg\">\n</noscript> </span>\n</p>\r\n<p class=\"caption\">Missouri Governor Jay Nixon speaks about the Ferguson protests. (Scott Olson / Getty Images News)</p>\r\n<p>Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) also <a href=\"http://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/media-center/news-releases/mccaskill-in-ferguson-time-to-de-militarize-this-situation\">criticized</a> the militarization of police in Ferguson. \"We need to de-militarize this situation \u2014 this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution,\" she said in a statement. \"I obviously respect law enforcement’s work to provide public safety, but my constituents are allowed to have peaceful protests, and the police need to respect that right and protect that right. Today is going to be a new start. We can and need to do better.\"</p>\r\n<p>Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D)&nbsp;<a href=\"https://governor.mo.gov/news/archive/statement-gov-nixon-events-ferguson\">called</a> the situation in Ferguson \"deeply troubling.\" He added, \"While we all respect the solemn responsibility of our law enforcement officers to protect the public, we must also safeguard the rights of Missourians to peaceably assemble and the rights of the press to report on matters of public concern.\" Nixon also <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/xpress/2014/10/21/7029173/governor-jay-nixon-announces-ferguson-commission\">launched</a> a Ferguson Commission to study and attempt to address the community’s fear and distrust in police and local officials following the <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-ferguson-MO-protests\">Michael Brown</a> shooting and protests.</p>"},{"id":5766438,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/you-didnt-answer-my-question&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/you-didnt-answer-my-question?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/5766438&quot;,"title":"You didn’t answer my question!","status":"Published","body":"<p><span>This is very much a work in progress. It will continue to be updated as events unfold, new information is released, and fresh questions emerge.</span></p>\r\n<p><span></span><span>So if you have additional questions or comments or quibbles or complaints, send a note to German Lopez: </span><a href=\"mailto:german@vox.com\" style=\"line-height: 1.5; background-color: #ffffff;\">german@vox.com</a><span>.</span></p>"},{"id":5769784,"url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/how-have-these-cards-changed&quot;,"share_url":"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/how-have-these-cards-changed?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=card-bottom&utm_medium=social&quot;,"short_url":"http://vox.com/e/5769784&quot;,"title":"How have these cards changed?","status":"Published","body":"<p>This is a running list of substantive updates, corrections, and additions to this card stack. Here is a summary of edits:</p>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>\n<b>March 5, 2015</b>: Updated <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">card 2</a> with information from the US Department of Justice investigation.</li>\r\n<li>\n<b>March 4, 2015</b>: Added <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/justice-department-investigation-ferguson-police-racism\">card 7</a> and updated other cards to reflect the Justice Department’s investigation. </li>\r\n<li>\n<b>January 8, 2015</b>: Updated <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-investigation-facts-details\">card 6</a> with more information about grand juries and <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">card 2</a> to clarify the autopsy results. </li>\r\n<li> <b>January 7, 2015</b>: Updated&nbsp;<a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-protests-police-racism\">card 3</a> with more information about drug arrest disparities. </li>\r\n<li> <b>November 29, 2014</b>: Updated <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-police-officer-darren-wilson\">card 4</a> with news of Darren Wilson’s resignation from the Ferguson Police Department. </li>\r\n<li> <b>November 28, 2014</b>: Updated <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">card 2</a> with a chart.<br> </li>\r\n<li> <b>November 26, 2014</b>: Restructured <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-ferguson-MO-protests\">card 1</a> to make it broader. Added <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-protests-police-racism\">card 3</a>.<br> </li>\r\n<li> <b>November 25, 2014</b>: Updated cards <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-mo-protests-police\">7</a>, <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-peace-violent-violence-looting\">9</a>, and <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-ferguson-mo-st-louis-military-militarized-army-tear-gas\">10</a> to reflect the protests following the grand jury decision </li>\r\n<li> <b>November 24, 2014</b>: Updated cards <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-ferguson-MO-protests\">1</a>, <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">2</a>, <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-police-officer-darren-wilson\">4</a>, <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/was-it-legal-for-officer-darren-wilson-to-shoot-michael-brown\">5</a>, and <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-investigation-facts-details\">6</a> to reflect the grand jury decision. </li>\r\n<li> <b>November 16, 2014</b>: Updated and restructured all cards to ensure they contain the latest information. </li>\r\n<li> <b>October 23, 2014</b>: Updated cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">2</a>, <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-investigation-facts-details\">6</a>, and <a target=\"_blank\" href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-st-louis-military-equipment-tanks-tear-gas-rubber-bullets\">11</a> with new autopsy and police militarization details.</li>\r\n<li> <b>October 22, 2014</b>: Updated cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">2</a> and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-investigation-facts-details\">6</a> with new autopsy details.</li>\r\n<li> <b>October 17, 2014</b>: Updated cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">2</a> and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-investigation-facts-details\">6</a> with details from <a href=\"http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/18/us/ferguson-case-officer-is-said-to-cite-struggle.html?_r=0\">a New York Times report</a> and <a href=\"http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/witness-adds-new-perspective-to-ferguson-shooting/article_ab6e1e03-c49a-5c7f-8786-b0e88ec79349.html\">new eyewitness account</a>. </li>\r\n<li> <b>September 27, 2014</b>: Updated <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-mo-protests-police\">card 7</a> with a mention of the latest protests. </li>\r\n<li> <b>September 5, 2014</b>: Updated <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-investigation-facts-details\">card 6</a> with the latest information about the investigations. </li>\r\n<li> <b>August 27, 2014</b>: Updated cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-mo-protests-police\">7</a>, <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-peace-violent-violence-looting\">9</a>, and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-ferguson-mo-st-louis-military-militarized-army-tear-gas\">10</a> to reflect the protests turning down. </li>\r\n<li> <b>August 23, 2014</b>: Updated <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-police-officer-darren-wilson\">card 4</a> with more of Darren Wilson’s employment history, <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-causes-history-facts-details\">card 8</a> with a beefed-up explanation about the cause of the city’s political disparities, and cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-st-louis-military-equipment-tanks-tear-gas-rubber-bullets\">11</a> and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/government-officials-ferguson-mo-obama-nixon\">12</a> with news of the Obama administration’s review of police militarization programs. </li>\r\n<li> <b>August 21, 2014</b>: Updated cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-mo-protests-police\">7</a>, <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-peace-violent-violence-looting\">9</a>, <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-ferguson-mo-st-louis-military-militarized-army-tear-gas\">10</a>, and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/government-officials-ferguson-mo-obama-nixon\">12</a> to reflect the easing tensions, and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">card 2</a> with another eyewitness’s account.<br> </li>\r\n<li> <b>August 20, 2014</b>: Added more information to <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-police-officer-darren-wilson\">card 4</a>. </li>\r\n<li> <b>August 18, 2014</b>: Updated cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-mo-protests-police\">7</a>, <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-peace-violent-violence-looting\">9</a>, and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-ferguson-mo-st-louis-military-militarized-army-tear-gas\">10</a> with the latest night’s events. Updated cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">2</a> and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-investigation-facts-details\">6</a> with information from the private autopsy. </li>\r\n<li> <b>August 17, 2014</b>: Updated cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-mo-protests-police\">7</a>, <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-peace-violent-violence-looting\">9</a>, and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-ferguson-mo-st-louis-military-militarized-army-tear-gas\">10</a> with the latest night’s events. Updated cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-facts-details\">2</a>, <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/mike-brown-shooting-investigation-facts-details\">6</a>, and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/government-officials-ferguson-mo-obama-nixon\">12</a> with information about the federal autopsy.<br> </li>\r\n<li> <b>August 16, 2014</b>: Updated cards <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/ferguson-mo-protests-police\">7</a>, <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/protests-ferguson-mo-peace-violent-violence-looting\">9</a>, and <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/police-ferguson-mo-st-louis-military-militarized-army-tear-gas\">10</a> to reflect the renewal of tensions. Added <a href=\"http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri/was-it-legal-for-officer-darren-wilson-to-shoot-michael-brown\">card 5</a>.<br> </li>\r\n<li> <b>August 15, 2014</b>: Updated all cards to reflect the police officer’s name, claims that Brown was a robbery suspect, and information from that trickled out throughout the day.<br> </li>\r\n</ul>"}]}”>

What were the Ferguson protests about?

Michael Brown was an 18-year-old black man who was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014. Brown, who was college-bound and had no criminal record, was unarmed, although local police accused him of robbing a convenience store moments before the shooting.

Brown’s killing and the subsequent events in Ferguson have become a national controversy touching on much larger national issues of race, justice, and police violence.

The shooting almost immediately triggered protests in the St. Louis suburb, as demonstrators took to the streets to speak out against what many saw as yet another example of police brutality against young black men, for which Ferguson has a troubling record.

Michael brown mother

Tears roll down the cheek of Lesley McSpadden, the mother of slain teenager Michael Brown.

 

The situation subsequently escalated and drew national attention when police reacted to protesters, even those acting peacefully, with military-grade equipment, such as armored vehicles, tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound cannons.

One of major demands of protesters was to get prosecutors to put Wilson on trial for the Brown shooting. But a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson after three months of deliberations — in what many saw as a deeply flawed, biased investigation led by local officials with close ties to law enforcement.

The investigation into the shooting, inherently secretive grand jury proceedings, and subsequent reactions by local officials further worsened ties between local residents and their government, which is controlled by mostly white politicians despite Ferguson’s majority black population.

The events in Ferguson captured national attention because, in many ways, they’re indicative of the racial disparities many Americans, particularly minorities, see in the criminal justice system on a daily basis. While the specifics of the Brown shooting involve just one teen and one police officer in a small St. Louis suburb, the circumstances surrounding Brown’s death replicate a fear commonly held by many parents — that black lives matter less, particularly in the face of increasingly heavily armed police who are carry tremendous legal freedom in whether they can shoot a suspect they merely perceive as dangerous.

 

 

Related:

13 things you should know about the Michael Brown shooting

racist jokes Ferguson police and court officials made over email

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