Today is another day.
Another day, where a young citizen is on his way to work. He makes sure his seat belt is on, that his head lights are working. He doesn’t dare go a mile over the speed limit, better safe than sorry. When he gets on the highway he persists on going exactly the speed limit, despite cars honking and zooming around him.
When he arrives at work, he walks a quarter mile past the building to make sure he uses the cross walk.
A police car goes by, and he straightens up, adjusts his pants, loosens his arms. He can practically feel the analytical gaze through the tinted window. His mind starts thinking about the half-dozen misdemeanor tickets he has sitting at home, next to the almost empty food pantry. He has already made several fine payments to multiple municipal offices, but it is only a matter of time until a warrant is issued for his arrest.
“No, I can’t think like that,” he mutters to himself. “I’ll go to work today, maybe get some extra hours this weekend, but it will work out.”
The short documentary, Ferguson: A Report from Occupied Territory, painted the reality for African Americans living in the community near St. Louis. The picture is one where a community has 10,000 more arrest warrants than actual citizens.
That does not paint a pretty picture – or a safe community. It makes you wonder, how much money are police forces making off tickets? The police-for-profit method does not seem logical or fair. It creates hostile relations and a fearful population. Police should be protecting communities and their citizens, the very people who grant their power.
The impression that the mainstream media gives of this community is that arrests are made for violent or drug crimes- not piled up misdemeanors that turn into arrest warrants when they cannot be paid. These are not violent criminals, but this is how they are being depicted.
By Lyndsi Petitti