St. Ann is one of the more notorious cities in the county when it comes to traffic violations and, in my mother’s case, the city’s finest, quite simply, fucked up. As it was, my mother had no warrant; the police confused her with another woman who shared her name — sans the middle initial.
She would go on to spend two nights in jail, pay $1,000 in fines that she did not owe, and plead guilty to the crimes of the other woman. She paid a devastating price, financially and emotionally, for the racist and classist policing described in last month’s Justice Department report on the tumult in Missouri. The 102-page document details the physical and economic terror inflicted upon the poor and black residents of Ferguson, Missouri. The report echoed the torrent of criticism that residents have long lodged at the city’s overseers. But, as my mother’s experience helps illustrate, the injustices cataloged by the investigation are not confined to one tiny Midwestern suburb. Ferguson is emblematic of how municipalities in the St. Louis region, and across the country, operate as carceral, mob-like states that view and treat poor black people as cash cows.
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