Police violence and the failed promise of human rights

Authored by: Bill McClanahan , Avi Brisman

The Routledge International Handbook of Criminology and Human Rights

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138931176
eBook ISBN: 9781315679891
Adobe ISBN: 9781317395553


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On 9 August 2014, Darren Wilson, a uniformed and on-duty white police officer, fired 10 shots from his service weapon in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St Louis. At least six of the bullets fired by Wilson hit their intended target, Michael Brown, an unarmed black youth who died on the scene (United States [US] Department of Justice 2015). In the weeks and months that followed, the residents of Ferguson – a majority black city where nearly all city officials are white (Robertson 2015) – expressed their longstanding concerns regarding the racialized enforcement strategies of the local police. 1 Vigils and protests were held nationwide; meanwhile, in Ferguson, peaceful demonstrations led to some violent clashes and moments of unrest, which were described by some as ‘riots’ (Bucktin 2014, Thompson 2014) and ‘uprisings’ (Howard and Lang 2014, Maupin 2014).

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