Everybody’s worst fear after Ferguson: Nothing changes

Everybody’s worst fear after Ferguson: Nothing changes

A St. Louis County grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, and everyone is now trying to figure out what that means.

Brown’s death, which surfaced the deeply burrowed and difficult-to-reconcile tensions that in some ways define our nation’s history, seems too visceral, too revealing to be without consequence.

But that might be the deep fear that hides behind the second-guessing of the grand jury: No indictment is, as some have said, an indictment of the system. And what if that system is too difficult to change?

“I just think the institutions have to be looked at,” Eugene O’Donnell, a former police officer and prosecutor who is now a lecturer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at City University of New York, told TPM on Tuesday. “The titillating gotcha stuff, that’s unfortunately what dominates the news. The real issues are profoundly more complicated.”

As O’Donnell summarized it: “It’s a scary system.”

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