Thursday, October 11, 2012

NYPD officers abuse teen-caught on audio

It is often instructive to look back at the history of white supremacy in this country and see how non-whites had to deal with openly racist whites who had no problem being violent. When we look at the pictures or video of peaceful civil rights protesters having dogs set on them or being beaten with tire irons or having things thrown at them it is hard, in 2012 not to at least occasionally question how people could allow that to happen or why didn't more people stand up and fight back or so on. Those are painful questions to be sure. At any given point in time most people are just trying to survive. By definition, most people are not heroes. Cemeteries are full of would be heroes. People did what they had to do to survive. There is no shame in that.

But although those days are thankfully gone, there are unfortunately quite a number of people who would have fit right in working for Bull Connor or Ross Barnett. Evidently many of these people are NYPD police officers. We've written before on the stop-and-frisk program that Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly have instituted that is primarily aimed at Black and Hispanic men, especially young men or boys. This program doesn't catch many people carrying either drugs or guns but it does put a lot of fear, anger and rage in many New York Black and Hispanic citizens. Unfortunately until very recently this has not received any attention in the mainstream press and what attention it has received has been cautiously positive or only mildly critical. Generally speaking the people that write or edit for the New York Times or the New Yorker or the Wall Street Journal or the American Enterprise Institute are not the people being stopped and frisked so they tend not to have the mad rush of killing rage I had when I saw the below video. This is a racial quota which doesn't seem to excite their delicate constitutional sensitivities.

One thing that it is really important to understand is that the stop-and-frisk program, which has been expanded to include public housing and some private rentals as well is NOT a program in which someone does something suspicious and only THEN receives police attention NOR it is a program in which Officer Friendly and Dudley DoRight stop you and politely ask you a few questions before apologizing and sending you on your way after some sports discussions.


It is as the video shows, a program in which young men of color are criminalized just for existing. It is a program in which showing signs of manhood and citizenship like demanding to know why you were stopped, asking for badge numbers, looking in someone's eyes or refusing to answer questions causes insane and profane racist rage, insults to your family, threats of arrests or beating, and occasional actual beating. This is the kind of stuff that was supposed to have gone out of style in 1960s Mississippi but as we can see it is thriving in 2012 NYC, under a supposedly enlightened Mayor, a relatively liberal Governor and a President that claims to understand civil liberties.

This is why come what may, with no offence intended to anyone who is a police officer, or is related to or married to a police officer, I really really don't like cops. Period. Never have and never will. Fortunately I have never had an experience to the extent of the young man in the video but I've had a few run-ins in my time. This is also why I do not like NYC and have little desire to visit, though I have friends and family there. Imagine if Alvin was your son, brother, cousin or husband. What does that sort of physical and verbal abuse from so-called authority figures do to racial relations? This is why it is ridiculous to claim, as some do, that affirmative action is harming racial relations. No, the NYPD is harming racial relations!  

The NYPD has a serious problem and it needs to be fixed yesterday. I simply do not get why Black and Hispanic New Yorkers have not gone after Bloomberg the same way they went after Giuliani. Malcolm X once joked that anywhere south of Canada is Mississippi and this video shows the truth of that joke. Honestly if I were in that situation I would definitely be in fear of my life and have to act accordingly. I'd rather be judged by a jury than those two beasts. Listen to full audio of Alvin's stop here, courtesy of The Nation.


1) Ever been in a similar situation with police?

2) How can we fix the police department?

3) Is the teen a hero?

4) Should the police officers be fired?

5) Where are the Feds?
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