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Sunday, August 14, 2016

The USA--Is It An Occupied Country For Minorities?

The Justice department recently released their report on Baltimore's policing. Individuals were stopped and searched for no reason, as many as 30 times in a year. Sometimes, people were strip-searched or anal cavity searched. In public. 

Take a minute to understand that. A woman was stopped for a broken tail light, told to exit the car, told to remove her clothing, and strip-searched in her anal cavity in full view of everyone on the street, so it really didn't matter that this was done by a female police officer and the male officer said he "turned away." 

They found nothing. No apology. No compensation. The officer in charge? He was given a "simple reprimand," and could not serve until he had been "properly trained."

Another officer strip-searched and patted down the genitals of a teen-aged boy in front of his girl friend. When the boy filed a lengthy complaint, the officer found him, shoved him against the wall, pulled down his pants and shorts, and grabbed his genitals.

No disciplinary action was ever taken against this officer.

If a citizen did not immediately respond to a verbal command, they were often beaten, even when there was no cause, even when the citizen was behaving peacefully. 

These actions affect lives far more deeply than arrest records and distrust of the police. An innocent person who has to sit in jail for a month on dishonest charges will still lose their job, and sometimes their home--you can't pay the rent if you can't work.  And you can't work if you're sitting in jail. And you just might lose custody of your children, too. Which makes me absolutely shudder.

And afterwards, these citizens were not apologized to. They received no compensation. They had no recourse. Listen, one officer took hold of the radio and told a subordinate to "make something up," if he needed probable cause to stop and search. What makes this comment especially noteworthy is that it was the officer knew he had a federal investigator riding in the car with him at the time. If that is not a climate of impunity, I don't know what is.

Think of the years that this behavior was allowed to continue. Nobody paid attention. It took BLM protests, it took Freddy Gray's murder, for this to come to light. (We know he was intentionally not belted in and taken on a rough ride.)

We cannot allow his legacy to rot. We can't wait for the Justice Department to examine us, community by community. Martin Luther King was assassinated to keep him from completing the liberation of his people. We cannot let it take another fifty years, or even another five.

If the citizens being harassed in this way lived in Montana or West Virginia, this would never have been allowed to continue as long as it has. We cannot allow our citizens to live under occupation any more.

If you want to shudder, read more about egregious policing in Baltimore. And remember, in one case where a man was arrested, tazed, and beaten by several officers, beaten enough to send him to the hospital--beaten for no reason--the sergeant's report ended by saying that the "officers showed great restraint and professionalism."
Try not to throw up. Instead, take action.

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