Thursday, March 7, 2019

Boulder Police Officers Hold Black Man at Gunpoint For Cleaning His Own Property

Police detained a black Colorado man who was picking up trash outside his own home. A Boulder police officer questioned the man after spotting him Friday morning picking up trash with a clamper in a partially enclosed patio behind a “private property” sign, and he asked whether the man was authorized to be there, reported The Daily Camera.

The man, whose identity has not been released, told the officer he lived and worked in the building, and presented his school identification card, but the officer detained him for further investigation and called for additional assistance, saying the man was uncooperative. A roommate began recording the encounter, and video posted online shows the man trying to explain that he lives in the building and did not have a weapon.


“You’re on my property with a gun in your hand, threatening to shoot me, because I’m picking up trash,” the man says. “I don’t have a weapon! This is a bucket, this is a clamp.”
“I’m not sitting down and you can’t make me,” the man says as additional officers arrive. “This is my property, this is my house — I live here.”

These incidents are exactly the sort of thing that made the Black Panthers form in the first place. They are excellent examples of how racism works. A  racist white person sees a black person and immediately assumes that the black person is up to no good. The white person then initiates force against the black person while also assuming that the black person is dangerous and has a weapon. Racism warps the mind so badly that items like cell phones, wallets, keys, skittle bags, or garbage-pickers are transmogrified into guns. And what happens when racist whites see a black man with a gun? Well, often this sort of incident ends with the black man being beaten or shot. Perhaps the only thing that prevented that in this case was the cops' knowledge that another white person was filming them.

All the same the police are clearly escalating the situation trying to bait the black man into doing anything, however innocuous, that could be used to justify violence. Even after it's obvious that the man lives there and does not have a weapon the police do not apologize or leave. At that point their egos want to make the black man submit in some fashion. This is the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. Police view it as their sacred duty to stop, harass, insult, intimidate and humiliate Black men-regardless of what the law, police policy or Supreme Court decisions say.

This won't stop until more black men follow the lead of the Black Panthers or for that matter Cliven Bundy, and make it clear to police that illegal actions are not cost-free activities.
I am proud that this Black man, one Zayd Atkinson, stood up to this harassment and for his rights as an American citizen-however tenuous those rights are for Black men.



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