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.

 

 

Bill Maher – Who is More Successful – Obama or Romney?

Interesting viewpoint…

 

 

Bi-Racial…Tri-Racial… And the American Melting Pot

Herman Cain says that racism isn’t a significant factor in America anymore. Unfortunately, like much of what Mr Cain claims about race (and politics) in America, that isn’t true.

What is true is that race, and racism in America, sans a few Tea Party bigots, has become far less “in your face” – thanks to the many black and white folks (unlike Mr Cain) who marched, and after the marching was over – chose to live their lives rejecting one of the the very core premises of the founding America…race.

This family’s experiences aren’t any different than a majority of mixed race families in America, where their children struggle with a sense of belonging, acceptance – and sometimes the racism of their peers and peer’s parents.

In Strangers’ Glances at Family, Tensions Linger

The question tore through Heather Greenwood as she was about to check out at a store here one afternoon this summer. Her brown hands were pushing the shopping cart that held her babbling toddler, Noelle, all platinum curls, fair skin and ice-blue eyes.

The woman behind Mrs. Greenwood, who was white, asked once she realized, by the way they were talking, that they were mother and child. “It’s just not possible,” she charged indignantly. “You’re so…dark!”

It was not the first time someone had demanded an explanation from Mrs. Greenwood about her biological daughter, but it was among the more aggressive. Shaken almost to tears, she wanted to flee, to shield her little one from this kind of talk. But after quickly paying the cashier, she managed a reply. “How come?” she said. “Because that’s the way God made us.” Continue reading

Cornell Belcher Takes on Herman Cain’s Rhetoric on CNN

Cornell Belcher unloads on Herman Cain’s “brainwash” statement…

Bad quality – but the enitre broadcast segment. Good back and forth with Ari Fleischer.

Belcher hits the nail on the head – but I wish he had come at it a little differently. The real issue is WHO Cain is playing to and WHY. And why would that audience support Cain’s regurgitation of racist right wing talking points?

The New Jim Crow – Virtual Slavery – Republicans Bring Back Chain Gangs to Replace Paid Labor and Illegal Immigrants

Post Civil War Much of the South Was Rebuilt By Prison Labor Slavery

Chain Gangs were once a fixture in the South. Used as a slavery replacement strategy, prisoners – almost exclusively black, were used for everything from rebuilding the City of Atlanta after the Civil War to picking cotton, and laying railroad tracks.

The Prison Slavery System is making a big comeback, with major corporations – and in states which have driven out their “illegal immigrants”, now need Prison labor to pick the crops.

With black unemployment hovering at 16.5%, and teen unemployment hovering at 50% – in conservative America, if you are black – you have to go to jail to get a job.

Wisconsin Republicans aren’t that ambitious…yet.

Prison inmates replace unionized workers in Racine, Wisconsin

 

Prison inmates have replaced union workers in Racine County, Wisconsin, thanks to the changes to the states collective bargaining laws that went into effect at the end of June.

The Journal Times reported prison inmates will now be able to do tasks such as landscaping, painting, and shoveling sidewalks in the winter that were previously performed by unionized employees.

Inmates are not required to do any work for the county, but can receive time off their sentence if they do. Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig said the use of prison labor would not result in any public works staff reductions.

“We’re gonna have them do landscaping at county buildings, have them pick up trash on the roads,” he told local Fox News 6. “So we can use some of the county personnel to do difficult tasks, such as putting in a parking lot at the park.”

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a non-fiscal version of his budget plan into law in March that stripped nearly all collective bargaining rights from Wisconsin public workers, giving officials the power to make many changes affecting workers without formal negotiations.

 

A Flood of White Supremacist Political Candidates

After co-opting the right’s racial language and strategy, and having their philosophy of white victimhood adopted by the Tea Party and fully propagandized by think tanks such as the Hoover Institute and AEI, and broadcast 24 x 7 by Faux News

White supremacists are ready to make another move to the mainstream, just as the Third KKK did in the 1920’s.

One of the impacts of the right’s racial propaganda machine is this – which is summarized from a llstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor survey here.

Infographic

The issue of , particularly African American influence in the political arena is likely to get even more toxic, considering roughly 1/3 of the 30,000 or so locally elected officials is African-American. This means politically, we should see a rise in the number of Afican American candidates to Federal Positions – and President Obama and guys like Deval Patrick are likely to be just the leading edge of a very big wave. That doesn’ t mean that the majority of elected positions in America will be held by black folks, or even minorities – just that the chances of the Senate remaining an all white bastion, and the next black President may not be as far away as many think.

Which brings us to what I call… “Fear of a Black Planet”.

White Supremacist Stampede

Billy Roper, David Duke

Billy Roper (l), and David Duke

Add to the growing list of candidates considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 America’s most famous white-power advocate: David Duke.

A former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and Republican executive-committee chairman in his district until 2000, Duke has a significant following online. His videos go viral. This month, he’s launching a tour of 25 states to explore how much support he can garner for a potential presidential bid. He hasn’t considered running for serious office since the early ’90s, when he won nearly 40 percent of the vote in his bid for Louisiana governor. But like many “white civil rights advocates,” as he describes himself to The Daily Beast, 2012 is already shaping up to be a pivotal year.

Former (and current) Neo Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Confederates, and other representatives of the many wings of the “white nationalist” movement are starting to file paperwork and print campaign literature for offices large and small, pointing to rising unemployment, four years with an African-American president, and rampant illegal immigration as part of a growing mound of evidence that white people need to take a stand. Continue reading

Ground Zero at the Lincoln Memorial

I seriously hope the counter protesters come a million strong…

I’ll be there, if for no other reason than to deliver a 1 finger salute to these racist assholes.

I was there in 1963 as a kid when my parents took me to join Martin Luther King on the Mall.

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