This Monday, December 15th at 9pm ET/6p PT, Al Jazeera’s Emmy Award-winning “Fault Lines” presents a special one-hour report, “Ferguson: Race and Justice in the U.S.”
“Fault Lines” correspondent and seasoned international journalist Sebastian Walker took six trips to Ferguson from early August through November, witnessing the protests and police reaction to the fatal shooting of 18-year old Michael Brown and looking deeper into why so many in Missouri feel injustice from law enforcement.
In this hour-long special, “Fault Lines” presents a bird’s eye view of the days just after the shooting – when small crowds of peaceful demonstrators encountered heavily armed police in armored vehicles – and the evening of August 13th, which quickly spiraled into violence and a display of tear-gas, rubber bullets and military-style vehicles by law enforcement. We go inside the responses by Missouri law enforcement and the reaction by the Brown family and protestors, and learn why the protests in Ferguson grew increasingly larger and drew worldwide attention.
Al Jazeera’s Sebastian Walker tours the streets where the fatal encounter between Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown took place – a predominantly African American neighborhood that many say is typical of the way neighborhoods in the St Louis area are divided along racial and economic lines. Walker explores issues in the area through the eyes of local residents, including the impact of the nearly 50% unemployment rate for black males aged 16-24 in St. Louis County, and how some local communities garner nearly 30% of their revenue from fines that target mainly low-income residents.
“I would call [the ticketing] a daily, low-level harassment by the government,” says Thomas Harvey, a local St. Louis lawyer and executive director of ArchCity Defenders. “Psychologically, I think it’s a devastating effect.”
“Fault Lines” also explores other police shootings in St. Louis, some of which drew little media attention or public scrutiny at the time. In April 2013, St. Louis police tried to pull over 25-year old Cary Ball Jr. for a traffic violation; Ball, who was carrying an illegal weapon, was shot and killed by officers while fleeing the scene. Ball was struck at least 21 times, with family lawyers saying ballistic evidence suggest the police may have kept shooting while they stood over his body.
Next, “Fault Lines” goes out on patrol with police officers from nearby Hazelwood, MO, to talk to police officers about how they feel about the dangers of patrolling the area, and then travels to the scene of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Vonderrick Myers Jr. on October 8th, which drew angry reactions from residents.
It’s an in-depth “Fault Lines” that examines the underlying factors that contributed to what happened in Ferguson, including the hidden reality of the relationships between law enforcement and African-Americans in Missouri.
Fault Lines’ special report on the protests and police response in Ferguson, Missouri, premieres on Al Jazeera America on Monday, December 15th at 9 p.m. Eastern time/6 p.m. Pacific. It will air again at 12am and 4am, and Saturday December 20th at 7pm ET/4pm PT and 10pm ET/7pm PT.