BY SAM FIELDS
We’ve all been reading about the friction between the police and the Black community. The most common Black complaints are car stops (DWB-DRIVING WHILE BLACK) or on foot (WWB-WALKING WHILE BLACK) for no apparent reason without an explanation.
It’s known as police “profiling”.
In New York City they have codified DWB and WWB with their wide reaching “Stop and Frisk “law. In 2012 it resulted in over 600,000 stops. Whites, who are 44% of the population, experienced 12% of the stops. Blacks and Latinos were 87% of the stops. Only about 10% of those stops yielded wrongdoing. Take away simple pot possession and you’re down to low single digits.
There was an interesting Reuters article about interviewing 25 Black men in New York City who described their own “Stop and Frisk” experiences with the NYPD. All but one had been stopped for no apparent reason. Five had guns pulled on them. One had his head slammed on the hood of his car. Complaints to NYPD Internal Affairs were fruitless.
If this sounds like more of the eight million stories in the Naked City; there is a twist. All twenty-five were off-duty or retired New York City policemen!
The chief defenders of Stop and Frisk are former mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. They don’t deny it’s selective enforcement based on ethnicity. They insist that it’s all about their concern for protecting minorities from their own who are the main perpetrators of violent crime.
But, if this is such a good idea, why confine profiling to Blacks and street crime. If we are going to use statistics to sidestep our constitutional rights let’s go all the way.
While Jews are under 2% of the population, they are clearly involved in substantially more than 2% of Wall Street securities violations. So I guess Bloomberg would not have a problem if the Securities Exchange Commission targeted Jews.
Based on high levels of alcoholism, maybe DUI checkpoints should over-test the Irish.
If you have been following South Florida’s Medicare fraud epidemic, you would agree it makes sense to concentrate Medicare auditing on Cuban doctors.
And let’s not forget Giuliani’s peeps. Looking into organized crime? Why not an application for a Search Warrant based on evidence that the target’s last name ends in a vowel.
Blacks Targeted In Fort Lauderdale
In case you think this just a Big Apple problem, consider the Public Defender’s report on the Fort Lauderdale PD.
Using FLPD annual reports, it’s clear that the police use certain city ordinances to go after the 12% of the population that is Black men. Chief among them is the city ordinance requiring bicycle headlights. Ninety percent of the citations were issued to Black males. Many times it’s a ruse to initiate a search of the bicyclist. While the State Attorney’s office has no problem with this, some judges have thrown out evidence for violations of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure.
All this made me think about the times that I have been stopped by the police for no apparent reason and offered no explanation.
I’m talking about my stoner teens and twenties in Dade, my raucous thirties in Washington D. C. and my years in Broward. It’s almost seventy years.
I then called four friends that I have known since high school—North Miami ‘62—and asked them to tell me about all the times that they were stopped by the police without rhyme or reason.
With 350 years among us, I thought I might need a calculator.
When I added them all up—and I am talking about every single one no matter where we lived or traveled—it came to a grand total of…..“zero”. Among us we have lived and traveled through hundreds of police jurisdictions without any of us having been inexplicably stopped by the police…no time, no way, no how, nowhere.
Mel Brooks may have opined: “it’s good to be the king”. But, in America, it’s “great” to be White.