Okay, I get it, click-bait title, right? But read their actions and how does it not read anything other than a mob?
I try not to be that guy that goes, “Hey, be outraged about this!” but it’s hard not to have that sentiment when listening to the two-part series by the terrific podcast, This American Life, on police.
First off, is there anything more telling about how fucked up things are with the police that a New York City policewoman from the NYPD only spoke to TAL on the condition of anonymity? She’s a public servant. Anyway.
The Miami Gardens Police Department essentially set up a no trespassing agreement with the owner of a Quick Stop convenience store. Not too long after, they took advantage of this owner by harassing his customers, whether inside the store or outside the store. All black customers, by the way. They’d line them up outside. They’d ruffle through their belongings.
Naturally, the owner didn’t like the arrangement anymore after trying to do the right thing. Well, the cops started harassing him. The owner also employed someone with reduced mental capacities to do some menial work around the store. The cops stopped and/or arrested this person for trespassing at the store THAT HE WORKED AT over 200 times. Two. Hundred. Times.
The courts were no help. They’d tell this individual to plead guilty and he can get out of jail now or he could fight it and spend money on a legal battle that he didn’t have the resources to fight.
That, my friends, is the real issue in policing. Yes, the killings are awful and horrific, but those are relatively uncommon. What is common is this type of daily harassment with no recourse (because they’re dealing with the police, the courts and they’re poor).
All of which is done to beef up statistics to fulfill quotas, which is then tied to federal grant money. It’s all the wrong, perverse incentives with no accountability. As point of fact, nobody in the Miami Gardens Police Department or Miami Gardens city council or mayor wanted to cop to starting this bastardized version of NY’s stop-and-frisk.
I forget the exact figures off the top of my head, but in a city of 100,000 the police made 99,000 stops. Comparatively, Miami, Florida, with a population three times that size, only had 39,000 stops.
Even worse, the police would stop children as young as five. FIVE! For being “burglary suspects.” One officer said in his report that the child had the start of a beard. About 11,000 of those 99,000 stops were of children.
This is a systemic issue with varying complexities involved, but it continues to simmer. I could list numerous other places where similar harassment has been uncovered by local municipalities, state police and the feds. So, this is just what we’re aware of thanks to some whistleblowers and take-no-shit journalists.