Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri: This Is Who We Are

...Yet the reality is that these problems between police and community run far deeper than that. The truth, in fact, is that abuse and violence have been central elements in the policing of urban areas for at least the better part of a century. Eighty-five years ago, in 1929, when the federal government commissioned a study of law enforcement lawlessness after a decade of police graft and abuse all over the country, one of the most shocking portions of their report was a part documenting the commonality of police abuses that spilled over into things more adequately termed torture. As the Commission documented, in urban police stations around the country, reports proliferated of officers banging rubber hoses across suspects’ abdomens, placing boxes over their heads and filling them with tear gas, applying acid to genitals, depriving prisoners of sleep, hanging them upside down by their ankles, beating them with poles to the point of eyeball dislocation and blindness, and so on.1 The year that report was commissioned (it wouldn’t be released until 1931), a woman writing to the Chicago Defender who lived just behind a South Side Chicago police station in a heavily-black neighborhood pleaded that she was nearly being driven toward a “nervous breakdown from hearing those poor prisoners crying like children” as police officers split lips, knocked out teeth, and committed any number of other abusive acts.

More: http://portside.org/2014-08-25/ferguson-missouri-who-we-are

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