In the year since Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, police misconduct across the nation has been scrutinized and debated. But police misconduct is just one piece of a flawed justice system. In the Michael Brown case, the fact that the police officer who killed Brown was never indicted caused national outrage, but the prosecutor responsible for that decision faced few repercussions—and in fact ran for reelection unopposed.
In the first in a series, Daily Beast reporter Jay Michaelson digs into the problem of prosecutorial misconduct across the country and some of the reforms needed to repair the judicial system.
On the Daily Beast Podcast, Michaelson talks with Daily Beast executive editor Noah Shachtman and BeastStyle editor Tim Teeman about what he’s learned about the Ferguson case and prosecutorial misconduct across the country.
There are few repercussions for misconduct, Michaelson says, because prosecutors are given immunity. And the entire system has a racial bias problem: ninety-five percent of prosecutors across the country are white, and yet forty percent of the incarcerated population is black.
Michaelson says the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that elects prosecutors. “And if you think about it,” Michaelson says, “no prosecutor wins election by being ‘soft on crime.’” There’s a built in bias to be tough, rather than fair, Michaelson says.
The Daily Beast podcast is excerpted from Daily Beast Radio on Sirius XM Insight 121, which airs Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. and noon. Sirius subscribers can listen to the entire show online. You can subscribe to the Daily Beast Podcast in the iTunes store. The theme music is by the Breuss Arrizabalaga Quintet.