What’s the backround on the Ferguson police shooting?

What’s the backround on the Ferguson police shooting? August 13, 2014

We’ve read that a part of the tensions surrounding the police shooting in Ferguson, MO (for those living under a rock:  the shooting of an unarmed and apparently-harmless teen by the police, resulting in riots and opportunistic looting of businesses in the town), is due to the fact that the town is 67% black and the police are 94% white (see this snippet from Vox).

(Yes, the Vox article uses the word “black” – and I would be curious as to whether the push to use “African American” has measurably died down.)

What I haven’t seen is an explanation of why.

Is it just that the white flight and black in-migration from the city of St. Louis is recent enough, and the pace of turn-over slow enough, that the police consists of a lot of old-timers?

Is it due to the increasing credentialization, in which police are required to have college degrees, so that blacks, who are underrepresented among college graduates, are underrepresented on the police force?

Is Ferguson simply poor enough that middle-income policemen have no interest in living there, so that the demographic makeup of the town has no relationship with that of its police force?  Is this, as with similar occupations where everyone wants their minority numbers up, a matter of wealthier police departments recruiting black policemen?

Os is this related to the way government works there?

My mom grew up in the area — first in the City, then in the North County suburb of Bellefountaine Neighbors.  I know that St. Louis County has a greater degree of power, and local municipalities less, than in most metropolitan areas, or at least that historically had been the case.  In the Chicago area, Cook County runs the courts, but the sheriff’s department doesn’t have much of a role except for small unincorporated pockets.  But St. Louis County has its own police department — see this wikipedia article — and I can’t figure out how the St. Louis County police department and the City of Ferguson police department are related.  I’m reading articles referencing both police departments and both police chiefs.

Anyone know more?

UPDATE:  Here’s an article from the local news outlet:  “Is the racial makeup of the Ferguson police affecting its relationship with residents?” in which the police chief says he’s trying to recruit more black officers, but it has been difficult:  “[Ferguson Police Chief Tom] Jackson said he has been recruiting officers from minority backgrounds and has also been offering better pay. Jackson said the department has lost some minority officers because of better offers from other departments.”  At present, 1 out of 53 are black.

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