In the wake of Michael Brown’s killing, the strong community reaction reflected not only anger Brown’s death but long-standing racial tensions between the community and the police. Professor Clarissa Hayward told the L.A. Times that “The St. Louis metropolitan area has been an extreme example of racial segregation for 100 years.”
The front page of today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a powerful illustration of one component of the divide — a largely white police force patrolling a largely black population. The disparity is huge in Ferguson but even worse in other communities throughout the state.
This divide appears to have consequences, at least in Ferguson. The Washington Post reported that there are “questions about [Fergunson’s] officers’ training and racial sensitivity.” According to a report by the state’s Attorney General, cited by the Washington Post, “Ferguson police were twice as likely to arrest African Americans during traffic stops as they were whites.”