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Policing the Future

In the aftermath of Ferguson, St. Louis cops embrace crime-predicting software.

Whitney Curtis

Just over a year after Michael Brown’s death became a focal point for a national debate about policing and race, Ferguson and nearby St. Louis suburbs have returned to what looks, from the outside, like a kind of normalcy. Near the Canfield Green apartments, where Brown was shot by police officer Darren Wilson, a sign reading “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” and a mountain of teddy bears have been cleared away. The McDonald’s on West Florissant Avenue, where protesters nursed rubber bullet wounds and escaped tear gas, is now just another McDonald’s.

Half a mile down the road in the city of Jennings, between the China King restaurant and a Cricket cellphone outlet, sits an empty room that the St. Louis County Police Department keeps as a substation. During the protests, it was a war room, where law enforcement leaders planned their responses to the chaos outside.

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