I hate to bring up instances of police brutality and terrorism because at this point in time in a very perverse way, I think the police feel emboldened and get off on stories highlighting their exploits. They know word of these accounts instill fear and leave many feeling overwhelmed and completely powerless.
At the same time we are challenged to alert folks because many are still in the dark and do not see these onslaught of brutality reports as systemic. Many have brought into the notion that the police don’t act out without reason. Hence when we hear a story about an unarmed man being shot, or someone being brutalized, many of us have been conditioned to ask 1-What did the victim do to deserve the mistreatment? 2-Did the victim have a troubled past?
Sadly many of us have come to rationalize police brutality as something that’s deserved if you have some sort of criminal record or fall into a marginalized demographic that has been grossly stereotyped and demonized. We buy into the police favored narrative because it’s comforting and allows us to avoid facing the fact that a system we come to believe in is broken and increasingly becoming more and more repressive.
Many of us do not want to face the fact that some sort of coup has taken place in this country where corporate entities are calling the shots and making policy while police forces all over are enforcing these rules and protecting their interests. Some call it Fascism.. Some call it the emerging police state. Whatever you wanna call it, its real and in your face. The question we need to be answering is how are we gonna deal?
The latest incursion comes at the hands of NYPD. This was an outfit we all sympathized with after brave officers lost their lives during the 9-11 tragedies. We gave the NYPD lots of leeway to recover and strengthen their force and in doing so, we either looked the other way or played dumb when they pushed for more powers. Now NYPD has vast sweeping powers. The most notorious is their Stop-N-Frisk policy where the police can at random pull you over while your walking and start searching you for guns, or contraband. Last year they stopped and detained over 680 thousand people with less than 10% resulting in any sort of violation of the law. Over 85% of those stopped were Black and Brown men.
The Stop and-Frisk policy has drawn lots of criticism and even a few lawsuits, but that has not stopped NYPD who now are set to take this to a whole other level. Its called the Clean Halls policy.. This is a new law that allows the police to come into public or private buildings including your residence and search you.. Yep you read that correctly.. Below are excerpts from recent Rollingstone Magazine article giving you all the info .. Please check it out
An amazing lawsuit was filed in New York last week. It seems Mike Bloomberg’s notorious “stop-and-frisk” policy – known colloquially in these parts by silently-cheering white voters as the “Let’s have cops feel up any nonwhite person caught walking in the wrong neighborhood” policy – isn’t even the most repressive search policy in the NYPD arsenal.
Bloomberg, that great crossover Republican, has long been celebrated by the Upper West Side bourgeoisie for his enlightened views on gay rights and the environment, but also targeted for criticism by civil rights activists because of stop-and-frisk, a program that led to a record 684,330 street searches just last year.
Now he’s under fire for a program he inherited, which goes by the darkly Bushian name of the “Clean Halls program.” In effect since 1991, it allows police to execute so-called “vertical patrols” by going up into private buildings and conducting stop-and-frisk searches in hallways – with the landlord’s permission.
According to the NYCLU, which filed the suit, “virtually every private apartment building [in the Bronx] is enrolled in the program,” and “in Manhattan alone, there are at least 3,895 Clean Halls Buildings.” Referring to the NYPD’s own data, the complaint says police conducted 240,000 “vertical patrols” in the year 2003 alone.
In addition to this, you may wanna check out the insightful interview we did with activist, freedom fighter Carl Dix about NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policies from a couple of months ago.. here’s the transcript from our radio interview on KPFA
Here’s a short excerpt of that interview
Carl Dix: “We’ve been out in Harlem, talking about Stop and Frisk. And before we did the first action what we would hear, often from the same person, is I hate Stop and Frisk. They did this to me. They did this to my son. They did this to—even sometimes—they did this to my sister, or my daughter. You know, because they’re doing this to women as well.
“But then the next point is: But you can’t do anything about it. And that’s why we decided we have to do something about it. And we launched this campaign to stop Stop and Frisk, which is a policy under which the police can just step to you, stop you, make you turn out your pockets, or search you themselves. And then often bust you for nothing.”
Davey D (c. 29:00): “Right. I don’t think people really clearly understand here [in the S.F. Bay Area] ‘cos we don’t see it as much. But in New York that is a huge problem that you could be walkin’ with a tuxedo on with your wife and kids and they pull you over and say, empty out your pockets, to make sure you don’t have a gun.”
Carl Dix (c. 29:46): “Yeah. And how big is it? They stopped and frisked almost 700,00 people; it was 684-thousand-plus last year alone in New York City: 85% of them Black or Latino, more than 90% of them they let you go after they’ve harassed you and humiliated you, but then even some of that 10% that they don’t let go, some of them were doing nothing wrong because when we did the action in Queens, they held us overnight. So, we were in there with a bunch of other people and people were telling us, Oh, they stopped me under Stop and Frisk. I didn’t have my driver’s licence. I didn’t have an ID, so they ran me in the prison.So, it’s like, did I wake up in Johannesburg, South Africa, 30 years ago when there were past laws? Because what’s the crime in not having an ID?”
Davey D (c. 30:39): “Right. And that’s why I ask the question because it is so massive. We just had, you know, we did a show about a brother who was killed over Stop and Frisk. He had a little bit of weed. The cops came by. He decided to walk, you know, into his building—I’m sure you remember this.”
Carl Dix (c. 31:01): “Yeah. I’ve seen the video of it.”
Davey D: “He just walked into his building—he wasn’t under arrest or anything—they ran up into his apartment, kicked down the door, and shot him in front of his grandma. There was no gun, no nothing. But there was a couple of joints that he was trying to get rid of, but this becomes the justification that is often used. Well, they should’ve just listened to the authorities. Or, they shouldn’t run. Or, you shouldn’t, if you don’t have anything to hide, then there won’t be any problem. But it’s those types of encounters that we see over and over again where people are like, the police are here, they’re gonna find something. I don’t want to deal with this. And oftentimes it’s a fatal situation.
“When you have these types of scenarios, Amadou Diallo, another victim of Stop and Frisk, all he had was a wallet, shot 41 times. How did we go from the Panthers and Dr. King and Malcolm X to allowing ourselves—or did we allow ourselves?—to be in such a situation right now where it’s not even talked about in the mainstream, even amongst our pundits? You know?
“I mean, you do it. Cornel does it. But if I tune on and I see our own folks sitting up there, they’re not really making this a front and centre issue. You know? They’ll talk about LeBron James and what team he’s gonna choose before they’re talking about the absurdity of 700,000 people being stopped in one year.”
Carl Dix (c. 32:24): “Okay, two things. The first thing is we’re acting to change that. And tomorrow night, when I talk, I’m gonna talk about a proposal for a national day of resistance to mass incarceration. That’s the first thing, but to get back to your question: How did we go from the days of the Panthers to this kind of situation?
You can also see another interview we did on this topic where go more in depth HERE