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16,000 out of 21,000 people in Ferguson have an arrest warrant

Many Arizona residents may not realize that an arrest may be the result of multiple factors. Not all of these are always fair. In some situations, an arrest might be made due to a systemic criminalization of a population by law enforcement authorities.

Findings from the U.S. Department of Justice have uncovered questionable law enforcement practices in Ferguson, Missouri. In particular, Ferguson’s high number of outstanding arrest warrants is exceptionally unusual. As of December 2014, there were 16,000 arrest warrants in a city of 21,000 people. Some analysts and experts have commented that this is a strong indicator of deeply ingrained problems within the city’s justice system.

Journalists have noted that the infractions for which these warrants were issued were minor. The majority of them were for traffic violations. Some cases, however, illustrated a blatant bias against the city’s citizens. In one example, a man was beaten by four law enforcement officers. This man then faced a criminal charge for bleeding on the officers’ uniform. The offense listed was destruction of official property.

Ferguson law enforcement agencies have also been accused of engaging in institutionalized racism. Over 90 percent of these warrants were issued for African Americans. Cases involving African American defendants were also almost 70 percent less likely to be dismissed than cases with white defendants.   

There are many intricacies to the criminal justice system. In some cases, it may be that there is more going on than initially meets the eye. When larger issues result in an inappropriate arrest or wrongful criminal conviction, it may be possible to fight the charges. Those who wish to learn more about forming a strong criminal defense strategy may wish to contact an attorney.

Source: Huffington Post, “The Shocking Finding From the DOJ’s Ferguson Report That Nobody Has Noticed,” Nathan Robinson, Mar. 13, 2015 

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