Police Misconduct and Brutality…Again

Why is it the police in Florida can arrest a black man at his job 258 times for being at work…

And can’t get a murderer like George Zimmerman off the street and not pulling guns on women?

In the second incident this week to make the news concerning racial profiling, police abuse, and brutality – “Get Tough on Crime” laws have turned into a mechanism of racial harassment and brutality. The first incident (or more properly series of incidents) were in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, where officers harassed, beat, and videotaped black men they accosted on the street, threatening them with arrest if they didn’t sing or dance on video for the officers amusement. A series of videos uncovered by local paper posted at a local Police internal message board, by the Motor City Muckraker, show black men in the town being stopped and harassed by police, and forced under threat of beating or arrest to sing or make animal sounds.

 

 

The case in Miami Gardens, Florida is even more vicious.  A local store owner, tired of having his employees and customers summarily harassed and arrested by Miami Gardens Police, while doing nothing more nefarious than taking the trash out, minding the store, or purchasing a Lottery Ticket,  installed a video surveillance system. What the videos show is Miami Gardens Police harassing, arresting, and using force to arrest people on manufactured grounds over a year.

Here, a store employee (Earl Sampson) taking out the trash is arrested for “trespassing”…

Earl Sampson has been stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens police 258 times in four years.

He’s been searched more than 100 times. And arrested and jailed 56 times.

Despite his long rap sheet, Sampson, 28, has never been convicted of anything more serious than possession of marijuana.

Miami Gardens police have arrested Sampson 62 times for one offense: trespassing.

Almost every citation was issued at the same place: the 207 Quickstop, a convenience store on 207th Street in Miami Gardens.

But Sampson isn’t loitering. He works as a clerk at the Quickstop.

So how can he be trespassing when he works there?

Earl stocking the shelves…And arrested for trespassing…

Now admittedly Miami Gardens has a crime problem. It is a poor area, and robberies and shootings are not uncommon. However, it is hard to see how arresting law abiding citizens on trumped up charges, while they are at work – is doing anything to stop the serious crime problems.

How “Zero Tolerance” Policing Helped Bad Cops in Florida Create a Civil Rights Nightmare

The Miami Herald has published a stunning, maddening story about alleged persistent police harassment of blacks in the city of Miami Gardens, Fla. (You should read the entire Heraldstory; it will raise your blood pressure and ruin your weekend, but you should still read it.) For years, police would come to a convenience store in a transitional neighborhood and hassle black customers and employees in the name of proactive crime prevention—regularly citing and arresting men for loitering or trespassing, even when they weren’t.

One man, an employee of the store, was “stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens police 258 times in four years,” with almost all of these incidents happening on store premises. He was arrested 62 times for trespassing, and, again, these were arrests for being on the grounds of the store where he was employed. These incidents and others were recorded by video cameras installed by the store’s owner for the express purpose of documenting police misconduct:

The videos show, among other things, cops stopping citizens, questioning them, aggressively searching them and arresting them for trespassing when they have permission to be on the premises; officers conducting searches of Saleh’s business without search warrants or permission; using what appears to be excessive force on subjects who are clearly not resisting arrest and filing inaccurate police reports in connection with the arrests.

The harassment continued even after the store’s owner asked the cops to leave him and his employees alone. Since then, the store’s owner has reported police harassment of his own. “I ’m going to get you mother-f—–,” he says one cop told him during an allegedly gratuitous traffic stop.

How does something like this happen? Blame it on endemic racism, yes, and on bad apples in the police department—but also blame it on a short-sighted local crime-reduction policy that, in retrospect, was always, always ripe for abuse. The convenience store incidents began when police convinced the store’s owner to enroll in the department’s “Zero Tolerance Zone” program. In Miami Gardens, when a shop becomes a Zero Tolerance Zone, the owner signs an affidavit authorizing the police to enter the premises when the owner is absent and question, eject, and/or arrest all those whom they suspect of being up to no good. The website of the Miami Gardens Police Department notes that the program is “designed to reduce the number of individuals who are sometimes seen trespassing and loitering on private property without legitimate business.”

Miami Gardens does have a serious crime problem—murders there have “more than doubled” in recent years, says the Herald—and, in theory, this program is meant to address that problem by keeping potential malefactors on their toes and off the streets. In practice—at this one convenience store, at least—by authorizing police to act in the owner’s stead, the “Zero Tolerance Zone” just made it easier for bad cops to abuse power.

The fact that Miami Gardens police kept arresting that one particular employee even after it was very clear that he worked at the store is baffling, and obviously indicates that more was going on here than simple overzealousness. But the alleged police misbehavior is rooted in the idea that cities can keep their streets safer by keeping poor black men off of them, and that it’s up to an individual cop’s discretion to determine what sort of behavior is and is not appropriate.

The “Zero Tolerance Zone” initiative sounds similar to the controversial stop-and-frisk programs that have been deployed in New York and other cities, where police officers are encouraged to routinely stop and question people on slim grounds—“suspicious behavior” is a favorite excuse—in hopes of seizing guns and drugs and stopping crime before it starts. In both programs, cops have been accused of routinely exceeding their authority against people who have no real means of stopping them from doing so. Inevitably, the people being stopped and questioned are minority residents of crime-ridden areas—police have no incentive to deploy these tactics in rich white neighborhoods with minimal street crime. Inevitably, when cops are authorized to engage in this sort of proactive policing, some cops will overdo it, and trample citizens’ civil rights in the process.

This all comes down to the goddamn stupid, silly, racist “broken windows” theory of crime prevention that encourages police to treat the symptoms in hopes of curing the disease. This doesn’t work in medicine or crime prevention. “Broken windows” theorizes that disorderly neighborhoods invite criminal behavior, and that cracking down on quality-of-life violations can make neighborhoods safer. But while taking a hard line on public disorder might make the streets cleaner, there is little evidencethat the strategy is an effective way to reduce crime. (Broken-windows policing was most famously applied in New York during the Giuliani administration, but the decline in the city’s crime rate during that timespan probably had more to do with the end of the crack epidemic than with the NYPD taking a hard line on jaywalking.)

More broadly, there will always be crime in poor neighborhoods as long as these neighborhoods lack good jobs, good schools, good mental health resources, and other things that truly help make neighborhoods stable. Thinking you can stop crime by ticketing loiterers (or manufacturing bogus charges against people who look like loiterers) is the sort of willfully obtuse policymaking favored by shortsighted, indifferent leaders who value appearances over results. As a long-term crime-prevention strategy, broken windows is intellectually bankrupt; as a short-term strategy, it is a recipe for civil rights abuses. If the allegations are true, the Miami Gardens story makes this all painfully clear.

 

 

NRA Tea Bagging Gun Nut Cowards of Texas

What kind of man needs to round up 40 of his buddies armed with semi-automatic assault rifles, and machine guns…

To confront a group  of unarmed housewives?

Apparently there are a number of small weenie, no cajone, chickensquats in Dallas, Texas.

Once upon a time the folks in Texas had character – like it or not.  I really don’t understand why the good folks down there haven’t run the yellow-bellied cabrones out of the state on a rail yet.

 

40 Armed Gun Advocates Intimidate Mothers Against Gun Violence In A Restaurant Parking Lot

On Saturday, nearly 40 armed men, women, and children waited outside a Dallas, Texas area restaurant to protest a membership meeting for the state chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun safety advocacy group formed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

According to a spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action (MDA), the moms were inside the Blue Mesa Grill when members of Open Carry Texas (OCT) — an open carry advocacy group — “pull[ed] up in the parking lot and start[ed] getting guns out of their trunks.” The group then waited in the parking lot for the four MDA members to come out. The spokeswoman said that the restaurant manager did not want to call 911, for fear of “inciting a riot” and waited for the gun advocates to leave. The group moved to a nearby Hooters after approximately two hours.

MDA later released a statement calling OCT “gun bullies” who “disagree[d] with our goal of changing America’s gun laws and policies to protect our children and families.” The statement added that the members and restaurant customers were “terrified by what appeared to be an armed ambush.” A member of OCT responded by tweeting, “I guess I’m a #gunbullies #Comeandtakeit.”

This is not the first time that gun advocates have rallied at MDA events. In March, a group of armed men crashed a MDA gun-control rally in Indianapolis. Other gun advocate groups will hold rallies this upcoming December 14th, the anniversary date of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Licensed gun owners are allowed to carry concealed weapons, but Texas is one of six states that prohibits open carry of handguns. Attorney General Greg Abbott, a likely Republican successor for Gov. Rick Perry (R), has vowed topermit concealed handgun owners to display their firearms in public. Four GOP contenders for lieutenant governor similarly hope to put in place open carry laws if elected.

Shopping While Black…

In New York no less… The kid had a debit card no less, which he had to punch in the correct code to use, and a drivers license  - with his picture on it confirming his identity. Kind of hard to fake that. Worse, any cop could have pulled up an ID picture on his PC/Radio to confirm that the license was valid and had not been tampered with on the spot.

This one was sheer stupidity, racism, and harassment.

 

Black College Student Arrested For Buying A Designer Belt, Barneys & NYPD Slapped With Lawsuit 

Barneys New York and the New York Police Department have been slapped with a lawsuit by Trayon Christian, a college student from Queens, who was arrested at the luxury department store in April.

“His only crime was being a young black man,” Michael Palillo, Christian’s attorney, told The New York Post.

The Post reports that the 19-year-old was at the store buying a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt, but following the purchase, he was stopped by undercover officers that were allegedly called on by a Barneys sales clerk who believed the transaction was fraudulent.

The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, states that the NYC College of Technology freshman was asked by the cops: “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt?” He was then handcuffed and taken to a local precinct.

Despite showing the officers the receipt for the belt, his ID and the debit card used, “Christian was told that his identification was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase,” Palillo said.

Christian, who saved up money for the pricey accessory from his part-time job at college, said he returned the belt and never plans to shop at the Madison Avenue store again. His story comes just days after another instance of racial discrimination was reported in Baltimore when a black woman was allegedly fired from Hooters for having blonde highlights.

Barneys has not commented on the matter and Christian’s lawsuit against the store and the NYPD is for unspecified damages.

Head over to The Post to read more.

Cain Camp Lies About Accusers Fall Apart

The most disturbing thing about the defense put up by the Cain campaign is it is formulated around the “Bi67ch asked for it” rape defense.

It is falling apart rapidly, as the lies get blown up one after another…

The Accuser’s Son works for Politico lie -

Cain camp admits false claim about reporter

Herman Cain campaign manager Mark Block was not telling the truth when he claimed on Fox News that one of the women accusing Cain of sexual harassment is the mother of a reporter at the news outlet that broke the story, the Cain campaign acknowledged Wednesday.

After noting Tuesday night that “Karen Kraushaar had come out as one of the women” who accused Cain, Block told Sean Hannity that “we’ve come to find out that her son works at Politico,” the news site that first broke the harassment allegations.

Asked by Hannity if Block had “confirmed that,” Block (pictured at left) responded, “we confirmed that he does indeed work at Politico, and that’s his mother, yes.”

Block’s comment was inaccurate on multiple levels. First off, the reporter to whom he was referring, Josh Kraushaar, is a former Politico reporter; he has worked at National Journal since 2010. Second – and most importantly – he isn’t Karen Kraushaar’s son. And third, Block doesn’t appear to have tried very hard to verify his claim despite his statement that he had “confirmed” it.

On the National Journal website, Josh Kraushaar wrote Wednesday that he had responded to multiple inquiries Tuesday explaining that he is not related to Karen Kraushaar, and also put the information out in a Tweet. No one from the Cain campaign, he said, contacted him before Block went on the air.

“Despite that, Block proceeded to go on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to proclaim that I was Karen Kraushaar’s son and to suggest I was one of the people who leaked the story,” wrote Josh Kraushaar…

The “I never met the B*&^h” lie -

Sharon Bialek: Herman Cain knows who I am

On MSNBC Wednesday, Bialek recounted an incident, which others have said they witnessed, in which she approached Cain at a Tea Party rally.

“I simply grasped his elbow and leaned in towards him to acknowledge he knew exactly who I was,” she said. “He acknowledged who I was.”

Bialek declined to reveal what she said to Cain at the event, but she said, “It was simply a few statements to jar his memory … That was only a month ago.”

At a press conference on Tuesday, Cain said he did not recall ever seeing Bialek before she came forward with her allegations on Monday. “I tried to remember if I recognized her, and I didn’t. I tried to remember if I remembered that name, and I didn’t,” he said.

Martin Bashir – Cain’s a Dirty Old Man

Cold…

But true.

Is Herman Cain Another Clarence Thomas?

Image: Herman Cain

Who...Me?

Those who remember the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, recall the Anita Hill affair…

Seems Clarence had a problem with the ladies.

Reports are coming out now that Herman Cain may indeed have the same problem. To be fair, this is still in the category where it could be a smear…

But Cain’s response below does leave a few questions.

Herman Cain denies report of sexual harassment

Herman Cain, a businessman whose rise to the top of the Republican presidential polls has stunned the U.S. political establishment, was on the defensive Monday after a report he had faced sexual harassment accusations in the 1990s.

Cain planned to make several scheduled appearances in Washington on Monday following the report that alleges he was twice accused of sexual harassment while he was the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday, his campaign disputed a report on the website Politico that said Cain had been accused of sexually suggestive behavior toward at least two female employees.

Cain — a self-styled outsider relatively new to the national stage — is facing a new level of scrutiny after a burst of momentum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. He’s been steadily at or near the top of national surveys and polls in early presidential nominating states, competitive with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The report said the women signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them five-figure financial payouts to leave the association and barred them from discussing their departures. Neither woman was identified.

The report was based on anonymous sources and, in one case, what the publication said was a review of documentation that described the allegations and the resolution.

Cain’s campaign told the AP that the allegations were not true, and amounted to unfair attacks.

“Inside-the-Beltway media have begun to launch unsubstantiated personal attacks on Cain,” spokesman J.D. Gordon said in a written statement. “Dredging up thinly sourced allegations stemming from Mr. Cain’s tenure as the Chief Executive Officer at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, political trade press are now casting aspersions on his character and spreading rumors that never stood up to the facts.”

Asked if Cain’s campaign was denying the report, Gordon said, “Yes.”

“These are baseless allegations,” Gordon said in a second interview later Sunday evening. “To my knowledge, this is not an accurate story.”

Cain plans to continue with several planned appearances in Washington on Monday. He is slated to discuss his tax plan at the American Enterprise Institute, appear at the National Press Club and hold a healthcare briefing on Capitol Hill.

The former pizza company executive has been pointing to his long record in business to argue that he has the credentials needed to be president during a time of economic strife.

In its report, Politico said it confronted Cain early Sunday outside of the CBS News Washington bureau, where he had just been interviewed on “Face the Nation.”

“I am not going to comment on that,” he told Politico when asked specifically about one of the woman’s claims.

When asked if he had ever been accused of harassment by a woman, he responded, Politico said, by asking the reporter, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”

The Importance of Anita Hill

Anita Hill has a new book out – and it’s getting some pretty good reviews. Patricia J. Williams is a Law Professor at Columbia University, and what she has to say about the importance of Anita Hill travails at the Clarence Thomas hearings really clarifies a lot of what Hill meant to other professional women…

Anita Hill

The Legacy of Anita Hill, Then and Now

Sad fact: there are few women of my generation who don’t have what is known as our “Anita story.” Mine occurred in 1980. I was five years out of law school and had decided to shift my career from practice to teaching. I was walking down a long hallway at the Association of American Law Schools meat market for new hires. There were two men behind me who were joking about the excellent shape of my legs and the unusually well-defined musculature of my lower quadrants. (Did I mention that it was a very, very long hallway?) At the end of that eternal passage was my appointed interview room. I escaped into it, only to be followed by the two. They, as it turned out, were doing the hiring.

Life was like that sometimes, I thought. And so I went through all the proper motions of expressing how much my fine ideas could contribute to their faculty, pretending that nothing had happened.

I didn’t stop pretending nothing had happened until 1991, when Anita Hill testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the unwanted office approaches of her boss, then-chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Clarence Thomas. I remember how still and dignified she was at the center of that howling hurricane of mockery, meanness and machismo. It was like some psychedelic cross between The Crucible and The Wizard of Oz, with its swirling fantasies of witchcraft, conspiracy theories and mad satyric orgies. I remember everyone from Orrin Hatch to Rush Limbaugh dismissing anything that “might have happened” as “bedroom politics,” even though Hill’s allegations centered on misbehavior in the boardroom, not the bedroom, and even though those allegations implicated precisely Thomas’s public ethics as the chief enforcement officer of sexual harassment laws. “He said, she said” entered the national vocabulary. So did “They just don’t get it.”

Anita Hill graduated from Yale Law School in 1980. The percentage of women in law schools was 38 percent—in contrast to the approximately
50 percent it is today. Back in those times there were so few women among the legal professoriate that many law schools didn’t even have women’s bathrooms. And as for women of color—there were only five or six of us teaching in the entire United States.

If the percentages of women in all professions improved over the next decade or so, the ability to speak up and speak out was often constrained by fear of losing status, ruining one’s career. It was the shockingly abysmal treatment of Anita Hill by the United States Senate that changed all that. Women were mobilized in a way unseen since the time of the suffragettes. EMILY’s List took off, as well as hundreds of networks for women’s political empowerment. Twenty years later, if some men’s behavior has not changed as much as one might have hoped, the collective women’s response has undergone seismic change. It’s not “nothing” anymore.

Patricia J. Williams

Anita Hill remains an icon to whom subsequent generations are rightfully indebted. At the same time, she has not remained trapped by her own symbolism or frozen in time. It is sometimes forgotten that she is a respected scholar of contract jurisprudence, commercial law and education policy. She is a prolific author, publishing numerous law review articles, essays, editorials and books. Today, Hill is a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University. Much of her most recent research has been on the housing market, and her most recent book, published this month, is Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home.

It is ironic that the full substance of Hill’s remarkable intellectual presence remains so overshadowed by those fleeting, if powerful, moments of her Senate testimony. If the larger accomplishments of her life aren’t quite as iconic as that confrontation with Clarence Thomas, they nonetheless merit attention by feminists and scholars alike. To begin with, Hill is a remarkably elegant and accessible writer. For those who wish to apprehend the gravitas of her intelligence and dignity, Reimagining Equality would be a good place to start…(more)

The New Jim Crow – Workplace Discrimination Claims Rise in Congress

This is costing taxpayers millions… Says something about our elected officials who can’t, or won’t obey the law of the land.

Taxpayers foot bill for Hill harassment claims

The number of discrimination and harassment claims on Capitol Hill has doubled in the past five years — and taxpayers have shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle those disputes.

new report out Thursday says 168 claims were made in fiscal 2010 alleging discrimination and harassment — compared to 87 claims reported in fiscal 2006. Fifty-seven of the claims made last year were based on race, while 41 claims involved age, 34 involved gender and 28 involved disabilities, according to the report from the congressional Office of Compliance.

The harassment and discrimination claims stem from 105 cases filed with the Office of Compliance last year, meaning one person could make more than one claim. The vast majority of cases involve the large workforce under the Architect of the Capitol and Capitol Police, with about a fifth of the cases coming from House and Senate offices.

While the total number of complaints has risen, the payouts in settlements fluctuate year to year.

In fiscal 2010, taxpayers paid $246,271 to settle nine matters brought to the OOC over the years. That’s a big drop from the previous year, when $831,360 was spent to settle 13 claims. The cash awards settled matters of discrimination and harassment, as well as retaliation claims and disputes over contracts and pay. Since fiscal 1997, taxpayers have footed the bill for more than $13.2 million in cases resolved by the OOC.

Claims of retaliation and intimidation have also grown in the congressional workplace — from 46 claims in fiscal 2006 to 69 in fiscal 2010.

The OOC, which is charged with protecting congressional workers and facilities, is urging lawmakers to take extra measures to ensure Hill staffers are well aware of their rights. The OOC called for all offices to post a list of workers’ rights and require training for managers and staffers on how to prevent inappropriate conduct at the workplace….(more)

That Clarence Thomas Can of Worms…

Virginia Thomas just opened up a 50 Gallon drum of worms for her husband…

Lillian McEwen, a former Senate Judiciary Committee lawyer who said she dated Clarence Thomas from 1979 through the mid-1980s, told The Washington Post in an interview that Hill’s long-ago description of Thomas’s behavior resonated with her.

“The Clarence I know was certainly capable not only of doing the things that Anita Hill said he did, but it would be totally consistent with the way he lived his personal life then,” said McEwen, who is writing her own memoir but has never before publicly discussed her relationship with Clarence Thomas.

McEwen also told the Post she was not surprised that Virginia Thomas would leave Hill a message, even after all these years.

“In his autobiography, Clarence described himself as a person incapable of doing what Anita Hill said he did,” McEwen said. “He is married to a woman who is loyal to him and religious in a way he would like to be. This combination of religiosity and loyalty and belief that he is really the kind of person who he describes in his book would just about compel her to do something like that.”

The message Virginia Thomas left for Hill again revealed the emotional toll that the Hill hearings took on the soon-to-be justice’s wife. In the past, she has made unsolicited phone calls to voice support for people whose reputations have been shaken by what she sees as false accusations.

In one way – I feel for the brother. Despise his politics. Despise his role on the supreme Court, and feel that he is the most destructive force against black America since the KKK.

But this is his personal life being dragged out for all to see.

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