FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Community activists predicted last year that the most troubled neighborhoods in the area were on the brink of lawlessness. But these troubled communities have been neglected and oppressed for years, and the recent shooting of unarmed Michael Brown by police has created a greater distrust between the community and police in Ferguson.
“Right now, our neighborhoods are war zones like never before,” said James Clark, Vice President of Better Family Life.
Some residents in the St. Louis area would never have predicted the recent riots and looting that took place after the shooting death of Michael Brown, but it is important to note the deep resentment and feeling of isolation and oppression that have been in the area for years.
In 2013, Clark explained that the neglect in some of the most vulnerable communities has created so much anger and unrest that it may not be addressed until a build-up of frustration that explodes. The recent riots and looting in Ferguson exemplify Clark’s prediction.
“Our young people are becoming more and more brazen, so we’ve got to get very, very serious, or we will see St. Louis almost come to a state of lawlessness,” said Clark last year.
Much of it is based on the way people, especially African Americans are treated by police. In Ferguson, and many other communities, police are far more likely to pull over black drivers and search them.
Over the course of many investigations, many residents of some of the poorest and most violent neighborhoods have told News 4 they do not trust the police, and that officers often treat them with little respect.