“Last year, in total, British police officers actually fired their weapons three times. The number of people fatally shot was zero. In 2012 the figure was just one. Even after adjusting for the smaller size of Britain’s population, British citizens are around 100 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans. Between 2010 and 2014 the police force of one small American city, Albuquerque in New Mexico, shot and killed 23 civilians; seven times more than the number of Brits killed by all of England and Wales’s 43 forces during the same period.
The explanation for this gap is simple. In Britain, guns are rare. Only specialist firearms officers carry them; and criminals rarely have access to them. The last time a British police officer was killed by a firearm on duty was in 2012, in a brutal case in Manchester. The annual number of murders by shooting is typically less than 50. Police shootings are enormously controversial. The shooting of Mark Duggan, a known gangster, which in 2011 started riots across London, led to a fiercely debated inquest. Last month, a police officer was charged with murder over a shooting in 2005. The reputation of the Metropolitan Police’s armed officers is still barely recovering from the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an innocent Brazilian, in the wake of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London.
In America, by contrast, it is hardly surprising that cops resort to their weapons more frequently. In 2013, 30 cops were shot and killed—just a fraction of the 9,000 or so murders using guns that happen each year. Add to that a hyper-militarised police culture and a deep history of racial strife and you have the reason why so many civilians are shot by police officers. Unless America can either reduce its colossal gun ownership rates or fix its deep social problems, shootings of civilians by police—justified or not—seem sure to continue.”—Armed police: Trigger happy | The Economist (via kenyatta)
In Dellwood, Ferguson, basically, in North County, if you’re black, they’re going to stop you,” a resident said according to a new report on policing in the area.
For residents of Ferguson, Missouri, and surrounding municipalities in St. Louis County, it’s not surprising that racial tensions have boiled over. In a town of 21,000, two-thirds of the residents are African-American, and many reports have highlighted a fraught relationship between Ferguson’s residents and its mostly white police force. Only three people in the 53-member police department are black, according to the Washington Post, and the Ferguson Police Department disproportionately stops and arrests black drivers.
“Everybody in this city has been a victim of DWB, [driving while black],” Anthony Ross, 26, explained to the Post.
Despite Ferguson’s relative poverty, fines and court fees comprise the second largest source of revenue for the city, a total of $2,635,400, according to the ArchCity Defenders report. And in 2013, the Ferguson Municipal Court issued 24,532 arrest warrants and 12,018 cases, or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.”—
Racially profiled *for profit* in Ferguson. From dirty tricks by the local courts to bogus traffic stops by the police, in a city where two thirds of the residents are Black people, these residents don’t just feel that they are getting stopped because of the color of their skin. Rather, they feel like they are getting stopped because of the color of their skin so that the city of Ferguson can profit off of them—for traffic tickets.
We were grabbing a bite of lunch at a small cafe, in a mall, right across from a booth that sold jewelry and where ears could be pierced for a fee. A mother approaches with a little girl of six or seven years old. The little girl is clearly stating that she doesn’t want her ears pierced, that’s she’s afraid of how much it will hurt, that she doesn’t like earrings much in the first place. Her protests, her clear ‘no’ is simply not heard. The mother and two other women, who work the booth, begin chatting and trying to engage the little girl in picking out a pair of earrings. She has to wear a particular kind when the piercing is first done but she could pick out a fun pair for later.
"I don’t want my ears pierced."
"I don’t want any earrings."
The three adults glance at each other conspiratorially and now the pressure really begins. She will look so nice, all the other girls she knows wear earrings, the pain isn’t bad.
She, the child, sees what’s coming and starts crying. As the adults up the volume so does she, she’s crying and emitting a low wail at the same time. “I DON’T WANT MY EARS PIERCED.”
Her mother leans down and speaks to her, quietly but strongly, the only words we could hear were ‘… embarrassing me.’
We heard, then, two small screams, when the ears were pierced.
Little children learn early and often that ‘no doesn’t mean no.’
Little children learn early that no one will stand with them, even the two old men looking horrified at the events from the cafeteria.
Little girls learn early and often that their will is not their own.
No means no, yeah, right.
Most often, for kids and others without power, ”no means force.”