The various groups protesting about the death of Mike Brown at the hands of Ferguson PD Officer Darren Wilson are venting their frustration at what they see as a police department that faces no consequences for killing a black man. In fact, all the credible evidence shows that Brown attacked Wilson, and that Wilson’s subsequent use of deadly force was justifiable as a matter of self defense.
Before the #HandsUpDontShoot nonsense started, before Sharpton arrived to inflame (rather literally, given the looting) the protesters, there was a valid point mentioned in the coverage. The population of Ferguson is about 70% black, and there is apparently a feeling that they are ill served by the city services, particularly the predominantly white police department.
Setting aside the fact that black males commit crimes, particularly violent crimes, at rates that are astonishingly greater than whites, there is indeed quite a bit of evidence that the servants of the city of Ferguson have in fact come to see themselves as masters, and the citizenry as serfs whose exist solely to support them.
Ferguson, Missouri, which is recovering from riots following the August shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman, plans to close a budget gap by boosting revenue from public-safety fines and tapping reserves.
The strategy by the St. Louis suburb, which suffered a second round of violent protests last month after a grand jury refused to indict the police officer, may risk worsening community relations with increased citations and weakening its credit standing by reducing a rainy-day fund.
To close a projected deficit for fiscal 2014, which ended June 30, the municipality will deplete a $10 million capital-projects reserve, Jeffrey Blume, Ferguson’s finance director, said in a telephone interview. For the current year, the city is budgeting for higher receipts from police-issued tickets.
…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. In 2013, the Ferguson Municipal Court disposed of 24,532 warrants and 12,018 cases, or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.
That post goes on to break it down.
You don’t get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. You get numbers like this from bullshit arrests for jaywalking and constant “low level harassment involving traffic stops, court appearances, high fines, and the threat of jail for failure to pay.”
Tabarrok goes on to show how even something as simple as a speeding ticket can quickly become an extended journey into a hostile justice system with spiraling consequences.
This is the all encompassing state, the pervasive bureaucracy. Instead of a police force and judiciary to maintain order and preserve peace for the people, we see instead a people burdened to sustain a police force and municipal judiciary.
Does a town of 21,000 residents really need its own police department and its own municipal court system?
Where I live, the municipal police forces are actually sworn deputies of the county. The city pays the county for police services. The courts are also at the county level.
The irony is, the majority black population of Ferguson has reliably voted for Democratic candidates for years and years. You know, the party of big government, the party that wants the state to be all pervasive. The party that is utterly beholden to public employee unions, particularly the powerful police unions.