Five Places Where Police Shooting Scandals Have Altered the Political Landscape

In other words, black votes matter.

Jamelle Bouie/Wikipedia

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


With national attention focused on the mistreatment of people of color by the police, and with incumbents in many cities reeling from police-abuse scandals, some Black Lives Matter organizers have launched bids for elected office. Here are five places where officer-involved shootings have altered the political landscape.

Cook County, Illinois: State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has been under fire since November for her handling of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer. Her top challenger is Kim Foxx (profiled here), who was raised in a notorious housing project but made it to law school and became an assistant state’s attorney. Foxx, who has been pounding Alvarez over the McDonald case, promises to overhaul prosecutorial practices in Cook County and supports assigning officer-involved shootings to a special prosecutor. She’s still polling a close second, but she has racked up key endorsements, including those of the Cook County Democratic Party—and Alvarez’s former campaign co-chair.

Baltimore: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, stung by criticism over her handling of last April’s Freddie Gray-related unrest, is not seeking reelection. Stepping into the void is Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, a lead organizer of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore—his hometown—and a national voice for the movement. McKesson, 30, left his job as a public school administrator to become a full-time organizer and has built his mayoral platform around police and education reform and tackling unemployment.

Ferguson, Missouri: In the first local election since a white police officer killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, voters have elevated two black candidates to the Ferguson City Council, tripling black representation on the six-member panel. (Voter turnout was 20 percent higher than it was in the previous municipal election.) State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who helped organize local protests after Brown’s death, aims to ride the activist wave all the way to the halls of Congress. She says she wants to see more federal resources directed to educational programs at the state level.

St. Paul, Minnesota: Black Lives Matter leader Rashad Turner, 30, is running for the Minnesota House with a platform focusing on criminal justice and education reform, employment, and housing. Turner, who first trained to be a cop but then switched to education, led the Black Lives Matter protest at the Minnesota State Fair last August. To win, he’ll need to unseat incumbent Democrat Rena Moran, the state’s first black female state representative, currently in her third term.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio: Tim McGinty, the prosecutor who argued to members of a grand jury that they shouldn’t indict the Cleveland police officer who gunned down 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a local park, now faces a very tough reelection bid. Exhibit A: He failed to secure the county’s Democratic Party endorsement.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate