Monday, April 13, 2015

How the U.S. criminal justice system became an unforgiving machine

Walter Scott, a 50-year-old black man killed by a South Carolina police officer during a chase that millions of people have now viewed on video, is the latest victim of a criminal justice system whose tentacles have reshaped the very nature of American democracy.

This latest shooting illustrates how the relationship between law enforcement and poor and working-class communities of color requires a fundamental transformation. The necessary political and policy changes will need to be amplified by a cultural shift that can stop the criminalization of black and brown bodies in the United States.

The simple reason why police officers can often routinely brutalize and, in certain horrific instances such as Scott’s, even execute black citizens is the consent they essentially receive from the U.S. criminal justice system and other political and civic institutions.


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