Over the weekend, October 10-13, Ferguson October was in full affect. A weekend of protests, demonstrations and even concerts were scheduled, advocating change in police departments while remembering the life of slain teen Michael Brown. Headlined by many high profile thinkers, clergymen and even rappers, these events focused on racial disparity and discrimination and saw over 1000 people come out in full support. Some of the more awesomely shocking support came from people who traveled all the way from Palestine to show solidarity with their black counterparts in America.
Ferguson October comes perfectly, almsot as if planned, on the heels of a recent ProPublica 32-year analysis of police homicides as reported by the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report. In their analysis of the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports ranging from 1980-2012, ProPublica solidifies the fear, apprehension and cynicism many black Americans feel towards police officials. One of the more disturbing parts of the in-depth analysis was the finding that black boys were 21 times more likely than their white counterparts to be slain by police officers from 2010-2012, the three most recent years of available data. Yes, that wasn’t a typo. 21 TIMES more likely to be killed by police officers!
Of course, many of these officers I’m sure had justified reasons for killing some of these boys. However, what was telling when reading the report was that after the 1985 Supreme Court decision which said deadly force can only be justified if the suspect posed a threat to the officer and others, almost immediately police homicides increased. Not only did the number of people killed by police increase, but the “officer under attack” defense increased as well. Before 1985, the “officer under attack” defense was used in 33 percent of the police homicides. Now looking at recent data from 2005-2009, note that all crime has drastically decreased over the decades, “officer under attack” was cited in 62 percent of police killings. I find this to be very telling.
While a said truth has been solidified by the reporters over at ProPublica, there always exist a silver-lining. These demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri sought to rally against the seemingly sanctioned killing of black people, men and boys most egregiously. The recent happenings in Ferguson has sparked a national debate and hopefully, this time, it bodes well. Hopefully, this time, we get actual reform. No more killing officers, these kids just want to live like everyone else