Despite worldwide attention, little progress has been made in the three years since Michael Brown’s death. And state’s move toward predictive policing won’t help.
This month marks three years since an unarmed black teen named Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. In 2015 and 2016 — the two years following his death — 548 more black men nationwide were killed at the hands of police, according to The Guardian.
Brown’s death forced the country to take an uncomfortable look at its system of law and order. And in the three years since that shooting, Black Lives Matter has become an international movement.
Despite the worldwide attention, many of Missouri’s politicians refuse to prioritize community-minded police reform or to modernize the state’s racial-profiling laws.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ recently announced crime-fighting initiative in St. Louis relies heavily on outdated strategies and threatens to make the city’s challenges worse, not better. The plan overwhelmingly relies on predictive policing — a strategy that would concentrate law enforcement activities primarily in communities that are already overpoliced. It includes assigning a special operations team from the Missouri State Highway Patrol to “saturate specified locations” informed by crime data, target violent felons, “collect better intel” and “predict and respond to criminal threats.”
Of the 189 calls to action recommended by the Ferguson Commission — a panel tasked with studying the social and economic conditions that fueled unrest after Brown’s death — none involved re-targeting communities that have been historically overpatrolled by law enforcement and arresting and jailing more people for low-level offenses.
Missouri already ranked eighth in the nation in incarceration in 2015, according to the National Institute of Corrections. In fiscal year 2016, the state spent $710 million on incarceration despite being in the middle of a budget crisis. While the governor’s tough-on-crime plan includes social services,…