Racial Injustice and Broken Systems

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By Abdi Soltani

Families and communities across the nation are outraged, grieving, and taking to the streets.

Our hearts go out to the families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black men killed by police who have escaped justice.

And to the families of Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Alex Nieto, Andy Lopez, and too many more black and brown men and boys who have been killed by the police.

The ACLU of Northern California stands in solidarity with the organizers and activists in Ferguson, in New York City, with #BlackLivesMatter activists, and with communities here in Northern California and across the country calling for an end to racial injustices.

Young black activists have reinvigorated conversations to help expose institutional racism and are making important calls for change. We must have these critical conversations in our communities, in our organizations and in our homes. And we must change laws, policies, and practices in our policing and criminal justice systems.

The killings of Mike Brown and Eric Garner are not isolated incidents. They fit into a long history of racial bias in policing, excessive use of police force, and unfair targeting of black communities. A criminal justice system riddled with unchecked bias impairs the fair administration of justice. And sometimes it means there is no justice at all. The lack of accountability for police officers who kill unarmed black and brown men highlights just how broken the system truly is.

Institutional racism in policing and criminal justice plays out in a number of ways that destroys lives and weaken communities. For example:

  • Racial profiling means that people of color are more likely to be stopped by police. Unjust drug sentencing laws mean that black and brown men in particular have been locked up at alarming rates, as Michelle Alexander details in The New Jim Crow.
  • 1 in 3 black men in the U.S. are likely to be imprisoned at some point in their life.
  • The U.S. incarcerates black men at a higher rate than South Africa during Apartheid.
  • Black and Latino kids are more likely to be arrested by school police (yes, police on high school and middle school campuses) for things that land their white peers in the principal’s office.

Two core values embedded in our Constitution are due process and equal protection under the law. But the harsh reality is that, far too often, our criminal justice system fails to uphold these values. From police departments to district attorneys, from racial profiling to police use of force, we need fundamental change.

This stops today,” Eric Garner said to police before an officer choked him to death. His death was recorded on video for all to see. The coroner ruled his death a homicide. Chokehold moves are banned by the NYPD. But the police officer who killed Eric Garner has yet to be held accountable for his death. The system is broken, and we need to fix it.

Racial profiling has to stop today. Excessive use of police force against communities of color and protesters has to stop today. The lack of police accountability has to stop today. Racially unjust mass incarceration has to stop today.

We also know that systemic change can move frustratingly slow. This can feel too slow when lives are at stake. It’s true that this road is long. It’s true that there is a daunting amount of work to do to change systems that are broken. People also say that these systems are not broken; that they are working exactly as they were designed to be. Either way, we need to change them to serve our values and all our communities.

Abdi Soltani is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Northern California.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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85 thoughts on “Racial Injustice and Broken Systems”

  1. zaqzaq

    When I read the author stating, “Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black men killed by police who have escaped justice” all I hear is blah, blah, blah, … .  This is just another propaganda piece.  It is a mistake to link any attempt to “reform” the system to these cases.  The justice system worked in these cases.  The only crimes that were committed were by Brown and Garner.  The black bias blinds this community to the facts of each case.  The Zimmerman case was a show trial to placate this community where the just result was reached by the jury.  We do not need more show trials with special prosecutors gone wild like in Zimmerman.  Remember in that case the local prosecutor declined to file charges because no crime could be proven based on the evidence.  Then the governor under pressure from special interest groups appointed a special prosecutor who launched on a witch hunt.  Holder’s DOJ is still investigating under pressure from these same special interest groups.  Politicizing criminal prosecutions is a dangerous road our society should not go down.

    The better position to take is to look at ways that law enforcement can implement tactics and procedures to reduce the number of justified use of force incidents.

    1. Robert Canning

      Zaqzaq: You are certainly entitled to your opinion but to simply push this off as “propaganda” denies the reality of the problems with the use of force by the criminal justice systems. These are not isolated cases and your scolding tone suggests that you take a diametrically opposed view to the writer.

      The increase in the use of all types of force by police forces has been on the rise since the 1970’s. Statistically it has fallen disproportionately on African-American and other minority individuals. The data is easy to find at the Bureau of Justice Statistics and FBI websites.

      You suggest that we look at “ways that law enforcement can implement tactics and procedures to reduce the number of justified use of force incidents.” I would suggest that we move upstream even further and take a serious look at the policies that govern the use of force. I believe that is where solutions lie. If the policies are flawed, then peace officers are at a distinct disadvantage and are at risk for all kinds of problems. The agencies need to review and reconsider these policies and, in my opinion, ratchet down the use of force by starting with de-escalation techniques and other verbal and environmental interventions. These are attitude adjustment issues, not a matter of simple “tactics and procedures.”

      1. zaqzaq

        Robert,

        I draw a distinction between misguided claims that the officers involved in these incidents “escaped justice” and tactics and procedures to reduce the use of force by law enforcement.  Any use of force by the police is usually ugly and disturbing even when necessary.  Tactics and procedures that reduce the use of force, both lethal and non-lethal, should be constantly reviewed by law enforcement agencies.  The development of tactics and procedures to deescalate a situation so that force is not used complemented by training should be looked at by all law enforcement agencies.

        The claim in the story that Brown and Garner are somehow the victims of criminal conduct by the police and that justice can only be reached with criminal prosecutions conducted by special prosecutors is absurd.  What should be really concerning is the bias of the black witnesses to the Brown shooting that made up facts claiming them as fact when they clearly did not occur based on the physical evidence.  Once the autopsy results were release the claims that Brown was shot in the back or Wilson stood over Brown and finished him off by shooting him in the head ceased.  More disturbing than the way the officers took Garner into custody was the medical attention provided by the EMTs on scene.

  2. Frankly

    This reminds me of the Mid East.

    Demand that the US police deal with the bad guys and then complain about the impacts in your community.

    I say we just set up a perimeter to protect the citizens of “Davisville”, and get the cops out of these festering high-crime areas.  Then we see the over-representation of black crime and punishment stats fall.

    But black-on-black crime stats will likely skyrocket.

    But apparently that is not really the big problem.

     

    1. Davis Progressive

      your comment misses a key consideration and that is that while we demand that us police deal with bad guys, they are compelled to do so within the framework of constitutional protections and therefore when they appear to go too far, overstep their authority, they are properly admonished.  it’s appalling to me that a guy who claims to have a libertarian bent is so cavalier about the abuse of government power when it comes to local police.

      1. Frankly

        I believe the “abuses of government power” reflected in the performance and behavior of the local police is:

        1. At a level mostly justified given the job they have to do in these crime-infested areas and the fact that cops are people too.

        2. De minimis when compared to many other abuses of government power that you seem to welcome… or at the very least, give little attention to.

        So Mr. Smarty Pants… what is YOUR solution other than perpetuating the racism narrative to help your favored political party continue to retain power lacking any other compelling things to talk about?  Maybe you would just be happy with more injured and dead cops in these neighborhoods as they become indecisive in assessing threats and need for use of force against the bad guys.

        My solution is to pull out of these areas.  Won’t that address your complaints about black over-representation in stops, accusation and punishment?

         

         

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      Charles Barkley says that inner city America would turn into the Wild Wild West without the police.

      This author regurgitates the normal complaints, passing over that most crime committed against African Americans is committed by their fellow African American brothers.

  3. WesC

    Michael Brown did not deserve to be killed.  That being said, who in their right mind would think that you would get away unharmed after assaulting a police officer. As a white elderly male, I know that if I ever assault a police officer, the likelihood of getting shot in the process is very high.

    I think most reasonable people will agree that Eric Garner was murdered.  He was not a threat to anyone. Several times Garner told the officers to please leave him alone, and several times clearly stated he could not breath. I have personally seen this type of take down where the subject is grabbed around the neck and pulled down, and several officers pile on the person once they are down.  I have never seen the choke hold used once the person was already down, and I think that this is what killed him

    Tamir Rice was a 12yr old 5ft 6in, 195lb kid probably playing some form of cops and robbers in a park with a plastic gun.  Police got a 911 call of of a juvenile with a “probably fake” pistol pointing it at people making them nervous.  The police show up, order him to put his hands up and he reaches in his waistband where the toy gun is and they shoot him twice, killing him.  Entire incident lasted only 2 seconds.   Case is now in front of grand jury.

    Alex Nieto was 28yr old male in a San Francisco park after work.  Two men walking in the park alerted a jogger that Nieto was wearing a gun on his hip and that they had made a 911 call to the police.  Another witness said he was walking his dog when he came upon a man eating chips.  He said his dog got excited, and then Nieto started acting erratically, and pulled out a pistol-type stun gun and pointed it at the dog and started yelling profanities and threatening him.  The man went home and called the police.  Police responded and state Nieto appeared to draw his weapon and was shot by 2 officers.

    Oscar Grant should have never been killed by the BART officer.  This was absolutely unjustified.

    Any Lopez was a 13yr old kid walking down the street with his friends with a toy replica of a AK- 47 assault rifle in his hands.  The toy AK-47 did not have the orange tip that is required of all toy guns for import.  Two deputies pull up behind Lopez, and one  officer exits the care and orders Lopez to drop the weapon.  Lopez was shot 7 times with one fatal round hitting him on the side while he was turning around to face the officers.  The officer did not remember identifying himself as a police officer prior to ordering Lopez to drop the weapon.

    The lessons here are:

    Don’t assault a peace officer, especially an armed one.  If you do the odds of getting shot are very high.
    Don’t argue with the police.  Pretty early on in the interaction they have probably already decided to arrest you, so it is best to just shut up and let them do their thing.
    Never allow your children to play with toy guns unless they are completely brightly colored so as to clearly identify them as toys.
    Don’t wear anything in a sidearm holster, especially a taser gun.

    If you think this only happens to black/brown males consider the case of Christopher Roupe who was a 17yr old white kid (similar is size to Tamir) in his parents trailer house living room preparing to watch a movie with his Nintendo Wii remote control in his hand.  He hears a knock on the door and gets no response when he asks who is it.  He then opens the door and is immediately shot in the chest and killed by the police officer who is there to serve a warrant on his father for a probation violation.  Officer did not order him to do anything including to drop the remote control in his hand prior to shooting him.  Unjustified shooting . Case goes before grand jury which declines to indict.  No protests. No further action by anyone, let alone the Governor. I guess trailer trash lives don’t matter either.

    1. South of Davis

      Wes C wrote:

      >Michael Brown did not deserve to be killed.  

      Should the cop have just let Brown beat him like he was a convenience store owner?

      > Oscar Grant should never have been killed.

      I think that everyone (including the jury that sent the cop to jail for his mistake) agrees with that.

      P.S. Can you name any of the HUNDREDS of black males killed in Oakland by other black males since the white BART cop shot Grant (the leading cause of death for young black men in America is getting killed by another young black man)?

       

      1. WesC

        >Should the cop have just let Brown beat him like he was a convenience store owner?

        Brown had already been shot in the arm by the cop, and I assume he had also already called for backup.  Even if Brown ran away he would very soon show up in the local hospital ER to get his gunshot wound taken care.  Whenever someone shows up unscheduled in a hospital/clinic for treatment of a gunshot wound, one of the very first things that is done is the police are called.  The officer could have also stayed in his car and just followed the 2 guys down the street until backup arrived.  To me it seemed like the whole incident very quickly became a contest to see who had  bigger testicles.

        I only addressed these 6 cases of black/brown deaths because these were the 6 cased cited by Abdi Soltani as cases of unjustified killings by the police.

        As I have said before given the gun worshiping society we have created I don’t think anyone should be shocked that a few police officers seem to be a little trigger happy, or that we have a very large number of gun homicides, especially in poor communities.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          The only problem with your theory was that Brown was charging the officer, proven by where the bullets entered his body. There were also several shots that missed, and several shots that were superficial. Testimony was also given that as the 300-pound Brown charged the officer, the officer yelled “Stop! Stop! Stop!”

          I received a long email, written by an officer, and in it are multiple links of officers getting shot, killed, beaten to a pulp when they don’t follow the procedures or try to reason with the suspect… a female police officer gets her face smashed in in front of her cruiser, and as the suspect walks back to his car he mutters “I can’t go back to jail, I just can’t go back” … an officer shot… an officer in a fight with a martial arts guy… a suspect who is shot by an officer, fires on the officer, and drives away… we really don’t know what risks they face every day, it is so comfortable to make these nuanced assessments from behind our keyboards.

          1. David Greenwald

            “The only problem with your theory was that Brown was charging the officer”

            We actually don’t know that he was charging the officer when the final shot was taken. The testimony that you cite was contradicted by other testimony. The forensics only show which direction he was facing. We also don’t actually know how far away he was from Wilson when that shot was taken.

      2. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        Can you name any of the HUNDREDS of black males killed in Oakland by other black males since the white BART cop shot Grant (the leading cause of death for young black men in America is getting killed by another young black man)?”

        My question is, can you not see that this is a separate issue ?  Black on black violence is a major issue, just as is domestic violence, just as are rape in the military and on college campuses. There are some of us that care very much about all of these issues, but who are able to appreciate that behavior between members of the community is a very, very different issue from what we anticipate from those we authorize and pay to protect us…..not to shoot us for having toy guns or opening the door with a remote in our hands, or to apply lethal force for the dreadful crimes of selling cigarettes and then having the temerity to talk back.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Tia wrote: “Black on black violence is a major issue”

          Then why is it rarely talked about?

          Why do we rarely talk about how the black community often will not cooperate with police investigations in identifying perps?

        2. Davis Progressive

          it’s not rarely talked about it.  but if you want to deal with black on black violence, you need to get to the heart of the matter – the poverty-dependency-incarceration cycle.  unless we can break that, get kids through school, to college, to jobs, it’s futile.  nothing stops a bullet like job or an education.

          how do you get a job when you’ve committed a felony, have to check the box, become a second class citizen.

          we talk about broken homes, nothing breaks homes like incarceration.

          so until deal with these factors, we’re not going to stop black on black violence.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          Two issues you skip are the lack of Fathers, and illegal immigration. The first is easily understood, even Barack Obama has spoken abut it two times.

          Illegal immigration has had a devastating impact on the black community, lowering the wages of formerly middle class jobs. It has also created a vast supply of complaint labor which will work on or off the books, for lower wages.

          I’m pretty sure the inner city black youth unemployment rate wasn’t 50% in 1975.

        4. Davis Progressive

          i actually did mention the lack of father, but part of the problem is incarceration, until we can deal with the fact that one in three black men are under some form of correctional control – mostly for felonies which makes it difficult to get jobs and benefits – you’re not going to be able to deal with lack of fathers.  yes, it’s a chicken and egg conundrum, but we have to break that cycle somewhere.

          illegal immigration is not a big factor in the black community, so not sure why you’re raising it.

        5. TrueBlueDevil

          Illegal immigration – Really?

          Then who used to work in construction, paint cars, work at fast food places, and do entry and modest work before tens of millions of illegal workers came here, Santa Claus? I got it, the construction workers used to be Persian and Jewish.

          There have been a few protests in black communities about Obama’s amnesty, but its small, and gathers no steam.

    2. zaqzaq

      Murder is a very strong accusation to be throwing out there.  Are you saying that the officers intended to kill Garner when he was arrested?  Where is the malice that raises to the level of murder in this fact pattern?  Please explain how the police conduct meets the elements of murder.

      1. Tia Will

        zaqzaq

        Let me ask you this question. If a person who is not a police officer were to place you in a choke hold and maintain that hold and apply still more pressure when you were in a completely incapacitated position ( lying down) despite your multiple statements that you could not breathe, and that hold was maintained until you were non responsive, what would you call that ?

        While I agree that the terms suggested by RC might seem more plausible, many of us would probably be willing to consider these actions “murder” if committed by a civilian. So it seems that we are utilizing a double standard to apply to our police officers when judging their actions, even in allowing the use of an illegal use of force on a nonviolent detainee. It is my very firm believe that police officers should be held to a higher, not more permissive, standard of behavior given the level of force we allow them to employ.

  4. LadyNewkBalm

    yes. Maybe I made the mistake please change my name to “Bahm” not “Balm” thank you.

    Anywho, A few thoughts:

    1. STatistics often can be used to say whatever you want. I’m not sure how much of this piece cites the statistics it likes while ignoring others.  I think anyone who is interested in this issue should probably do their own extensive research because it involves many layers of complexity. When I say research I mean thorough research and from the most unbiased/credible sources. that is not easy to do. I also believe when doing research it is important to do so with an open mind. With all the passionate beliefs being expressed, I’m not convinced that will be done anytime in the near future by most people including people who comment on this site.

    2. If you want unbiased research you sure wont get it from the ACLU. Regardless of circumstances the ACLU’s track record is they will come down on the side of blacks when it involves racial politics of blacks vs police. That doesn’t mean the police are right. That doesn’t mean the blacks are right. It doesn’t mean both sides are completely wrong either.

    3. Each case needs to be addressed on the merits of the arguments. Court cases shouldn’t be decided based on racial politics.

    4. Rioting in an attempt to reverse trial outcomes is either an excuse to loot/pillage and plunder and harm innocents under the cover of protesting to avoid facing justice, and/or little more than a form of political blackmail.

     

    1. Miwok

      Good points, LadyNB.

      It is upsetting to see that the behavior of police appears to be all over , when we looked at conflicts in the old South as the model for bias and racism. St Louis had a thriving black community several eras through its history which were wiped by Whites looting and burning anything blacks owned. NOW it is the blacks doing it to themselves.

      If the police at any level are not living and working in the community, it suffers. I know many who live in another county or city. They used to or attempted to work in their own town, but you know how that goes.

      My idea of when we find a bad apple, we get rid of it. But if the whole force is bad, they try to change it? One officer making the whole department look bad is one thing, but Ferguson had the Governor, State Police, everyone from other jurisdictions coming to show support and help get the Ferguson PD out of the equation, and the “protestors” still burned it. The so called parents of Michael Brown had nothing to do with raising him, but they were sure there for the TV cameras.

      I especially agree with #3, but then someone will cite “statistics” that it is a pattern. Can blacks only judge blacks? Can black Police only arrest Black criminals? It works in Chicago, I guess. As Frankly states, some parts of major cities are off limits, even to cops. Maybe these cities are too big or too small, and escape notice until something like this happens. Now they want to video everyone, but that exponentially increases the workload, which no one wants to pay for. So you are back to amateurs running the show.

      Like the Davis PD who hired a washout from the CHP academy, I worried a bit, since the guy would walk around downtown off duty in his SWAT uniform.

      1. David Greenwald

        “Like the Davis PD who hired a washout from the CHP academy, I worried a bit, since the guy would walk around downtown off duty in his SWAT uniform.”

        Police sources dispute the factual basis of the sentence. I don’t suppose you have a name.

        1. Miwok

          Yes. I do. I used to work with the guy. When I saw him a few years after he left where I worked he was downtown and was very strange. He really wanted to be CHP and it was a disappointment to him. He expressed that to me.

          Thanks for asking.

          1. David Greenwald

            Then what is his name? Feel free to email it to me if you don’t wish to post it on here. The only reason I bring it up is that the police department is disputing it.

        2. Miwok

          He was let go years ago, and I will not make a target of myself releasing the name. He washed because he was unstable, and finally left Davis PD, and I don’t know where he went after that. Early 90’s. Since then I stay away from them as a whole. The whole department in those days were changing the cars to look like Robocop, and changing the uniforms from blue to black military type stuff.

          Sorry Mr Greenwald, I would think you would be happy he is gone? Will you share the Police contact with me?

        3. Miwok

          DP, did Mr Coleman work for the police back in the 90’s?

          Since Mr Greenwald has talked to someone already I wanted to talk with the same person, not make a case out of it. There are certain towns and cities that I am very careful, Davis is one of them. Recently I had a chance to catch a thief, and Davis PD was too “busy” to catch them.

          “Police Sources will always dispute” the sentence, like I am hallucinating. Disputing with no questions, no facts, no anything. Good strategy. I knew the guy, worked with him.. Saw him get into fights with people, before he became a cop.

  5. Anon

    The problem with all of this is bad journalism.  Each case, as LadyNewkBahm noted, needs to be investigated and decided on its own merits.  But instead the media is deciding cases in the press according to a preconceived agenda of racism.  By doing that, it is deflecting from the real issues, as Wes C and Robert Canning pointed out above.  Clearly police make mistakes – egregious ones.  It would seem to me a good, hard look needs to be taken at police procedures, so that innocent people (black, white, purple, pink or green) don’t end up dead at the hands of the police.

    1. Davis Progressive

      it’s always bad journalism when you disagree with it.  this of course isn’t journalism as it’s written by the executive director of the northern california branch of the american civil liberties union.

      at the same time, you note, “Clearly police make mistakes – egregious ones.  It would seem to me a good, hard look needs to be taken at police procedures, so that innocent people (black, white, purple, pink or green) don’t end up dead at the hands of the police.” i take heart in that, but i would hate to remove racial prejudice, especially its more discrete forms like confirmation and unconscious biases before we have fully explored the matter.

      1. Miwok

        The problem is the Media is not objective any more. The owners of these large media conglomerates saw to that. There are some investigative journalists out there, but as you see in the news, the people the investigate go after them. Across the ocean they are being killed even when sympathetic to the cause they are writing about. Even the NSA is after some of them.

        https://www.facebook.com/nick.mead.52/posts/10205405857931125?fref=nf&pnref=story

        The cops also have media handlers that Mr Greewald rails against from time to time.

    2. Tia Will

      Anon

      It would seem to me a good, hard look needs to be taken at police procedures, so that innocent people (black, white, purple, pink or green) don’t end up dead at the hands of the police.”

      With this point I agree completely. And I believe that while it is fine for the police departments to evaluate their procedures and policies, there is a need for civilian leadership to also evaluate these procedures and policies. There is a bit of “the fox guarding the henhouse” flavor to internal review in a setting in which the police doing the evaluating are the same folks who have been trained within the current system which often emphasizes the use of force rather than prevention and de escalation techniques. I say this not because of what I see in the lay press but because of my close association wtth a professional in the field whose opinion is based on direct knowledge and review of data from reliable statistical sources other than the ACLU which is occasionally shared here in comments.

  6. TrueBlueDevil

    There was a famous allegation in New Jersey where the ACLU and others crowd was claiming that black drivers were being “profiled” because their rates for getting a ticket were disproportionate from the population. Even Al Gore claimed this in a TV debate.

    After an extensive evaluation – which the Bush White House tried to bury – it was revealed that the tickets which were given almost identically matched the actual infraction rate. Drivers were filed with cameras, their speeds were tracked by radar, and those speeding were grouped by ethnic group.

    SPEED KILLS RACIAL PROFILING STUDY
    http://humanevents.com/2014/09/03/speed-kills-racial-profiling-study/

    “Confident that any new study would merely serve to confirm the troopers’ racism, the DOJ and the New Jersey attorney general commissioned a statistical investigation from the Public Services Research Institute in Maryland.

    “The institute’s study was a spectacular thing. Using expensive monitors with high-speed cameras and radar detectors, they clocked the speeds of nearly 40,000 drivers on the relevant section of the turnpike. Three researchers then examined the photos to determine the race of the driver — without knowing whether the driver was speeding, which was defined as going more than 80 mph in 65 mph zones.

    “The result: No racial profiling.

    “Blacks constituted 25 percent of all speeders and they were 23 percent of drivers stopped for speeding. Controlling for age and gender, blacks sped at about twice the rate of whites. The disparity was even greater for drivers exceeding 90 mph.”

    1. Tia Will

      TBD

      This is just a question since I was unaware of the study you cited. Could this study be considered blinded ? Were the officers doing the stops and ticketing during the duration of the study aware that there was a study being conducted ? I am wondering about the timing of the study, the awareness of the allegation of the officers and whether or not a direct comparison was made of the pattern of ticketing prior to the beginning of the study with the pattern demonstrated during the study ?

      When designing any study involving human behavior, it is important that the participants in the study not be aware of the specific behavior being observed so as not to be able to deliberately alter their behavior. I am wondering if this precaution was taken ?

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        If that is your interest, you’ll have to look it up, I’m not sure.

        I know a number of other “complaints” were lodged, and every time there was an adjustment or correction made to a perceived issue, the statistics were the same. So given that they addressed issues, I doubt the community members would let a possible bias slip by. Here is the one complaint I heard about. The speeders had their infraction logged, along with their ethnic group or possible ethnic group. They knew 80% or 90% of the time if someone was orange or pink, but there were some speeders clocked with radar where they weren’t 100% sure of their ethnicity. Some took issue with this subgroup as altering the results. So the researchers pulled out this subgroup, and the numbers were virtually the same.

        I find it interesting that you immediately doubt and question a high-tech, apparently thorough study. If the study gave you the results that suit your perspective, would you pose the same questions?

  7. Frankly

    It still remains completely unclear what, if anything, the author and those that agree with him/her think we should do to address the problems he/she raises?

    Racial profiling has to stop today. Excessive use of police force against communities of color and protesters has to stop today. The lack of police accountability has to stop today. Racially unjust mass incarceration has to stop today.

    What exactly do we do to “end” racial profiling and how is this expected to help prevent the next Mike Brown or Eric Garner incident?   And what will be the other consequences for these “remedies”?

    What does police accountability look like if it does not exist today as the writer says?  What actual changes does he/she recommend, and what will be the consequences for them?

    What is “unjust mass incarceration”, assuming it exists as the author claims, and how do we “stop” it?   And if we do, then what are the consequences?

    And to the author and those that agree with him/her, while you are thinking about how to ignore these questions like all others that challenge you to come up with more concrete answers and ideas, please consider that my idea to extract cops from within a perimeter of high-crime areas would actually serve to do the things that the author is demanding.  So then why not?  And if you disagree with this approach, does it not prove that you are really not clear on the actual problems and possible solutions and are just stuck in a politicized left-leaning template of racism… and will likely always be?

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      What does police accountability look like if it does not exist today as the writer says? “

      The questions that are being addressed are not simple, take this action and all will be fine issues. I have no idea how to deal with “racial profiling” or “mass incarceration”, but I believe that I can make one small effort to address your question.

      Police are given special rights to use force. This right is ceded on the part of the people for our protection, it is not an inherent right since, as you yourself pointed out they are just people too. Since this is a right given to them by civilians there needs to be accountability to those who provide them with this special set of rights and privileges.

      At a minimum, I would assert that their behaviors must always be within the law. When they have broken the law, or used techniques outside the approved methods, or equipment not designated or approved for the task at hand, they should be held to the same legal standard that would apply to a civilian breaking the same law or code. A death caused to an illegal action ( chokehold) should be charged exactly as it would be for a civilian committing the same act. That would be accountability. To not hold to this standard is to place the police above the law which represents a lack of accountability.

       

      1. Frankly

        You don’t have any evidence that the standard the police are held to is not the same as what the public is held to… leaving aside for the moment the absurdity of not factoring the actual job that the police are called to do and the increased and concentrated risks they face.

    2. Davis Progressive

      “What does police accountability look like if it does not exist today as the writer says?  What actual changes does he/she recommend, and what will be the consequences for them?”

      well let’s start with the ferguson matter.

      the simplest thing is independent review.  prosecutors work with the police hand in hand.  they are reluctant to prosecute police officers for on-duty discretion.  so create an independent agency to investigate and prosecute police.

      that’s a clear area where we can improve accountability.

      the grand jury process is problematic, police use it as political cover.  if they wanted to get an indictment they could have.  that they didn’t, suggests that they didn’t want an indictment.

      that’s really the most basic complaint, because with accountability and a fair process, most of the other complaints will disappear and get dealt with.

       

  8. Sam

    Don’t let an actual study get in the way of someone’s good statistics!

    What amazes me is that in all of the cases cited in the article (except maybe one) each person that was killed failed to follow the instructions given by the police officer. When did that become acceptable? Is that something that we want to glorify in the media and therefore encourage? I think this might have been saying when they mentioned that these cases should not be rallying cries for racial profiling. I would think there are better ones out there than these.

     
    I should note that in the Eric Garner case, to me, some terrible decisions may have been made. Without seeing all of the evidence and knowing the whole story though I can’t tell if they were criminal acts or just incompetent employees.  
     

     

        1. Sam

          I could see adding that there was also a sergeant off camera that we did not see not controlling the poor decisions. The woman and African American portion is irrelevant/ unnecessary.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          She is in charge. Would a sergeant really let a racist beating go on, right before her eyes, or were they following procedure? She could stop or alter anything that was happening in an instant.

          The BLACK female Superior officer largely diminishes or removes race as an issue… unless someone wants to assert that she is racist.

          1. David Greenwald

            Well you know what they say in the urban community – “don’t let it be a black and a white cop.” The experience in the black community is that the culture is problem and that black police officers in order to be accepted in their departments are often just as bad. That’s of course very anecdotal, but pervasive enough to not immediately dismiss.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          David, in my decades interacting and working in the black community, I’ve never heard this phrase.

          I have heard black police officers called “Uncle Tom”, and young people now say “Snitches get stitches, B—-es”, which goes to the non-cooperation in many urban cities identifying perps.

        4. Frankly

          The experience in the black community is that the culture is problem and that black police officers in order to be accepted in their departments are often just as bad. That’s of course very anecdotal, but pervasive enough to not immediately dismiss.

          This would be the blueberry Oreo argument… black on the outside but all blue (police-like) on the inside.  And it is about as indicative of destructive black on black bias as is the regular Oreo label.

    1. Tia Will

      Sam

      each person that was killed failed to follow the instructions given by the police officer. When did that become acceptable? Is that something that we want to glorify in the media and therefore encourage?”

      While I agree with you that it is extremely poor judgement not to follow police instructions and is not acceptable, the punishment should not be death as it has been in each of these cases.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Do yourself a favor and watch a few police videos on youtube where police are beaten, shot, and killed over one bad decision, or trying to be nice or understanding.

        I saw a special on History Channel or such where they explained some police procedures, including why they keep a crowd away, etc. There was some statistic that if an officer sees a gun or a threat, it takes 2.2 seconds for them to un-holster their weapon and fire.

    2. Davis Progressive

      “each person that was killed failed to follow the instructions given by the police officer.”

      allegedly.  but here’s the thing – people often fail to follow instructions given by the police, good police officers are able to overcome that most of the time.  none of these incidents as i’ve read them was the outcome inevitable.

  9. tribeUSA

    I’ve no doubt that there have been and continue to be some incidents of racially biased police practices by some policemen in some municipalities. But the social justice/activist community would do well to publicize those cases in which there has clearly been, as supported by the weight of the evidence, racial bias involved. In too many cases (including the Brown case), once the evidence becomes public, the case for excessive use of force is ambiguous at best, and there is little or no evidence of racial bias. In other cases like the Garner case, I think most people would agree that the police indeed used poor judgement and excessive force; however I didn’t see any evidence of racial bias. Recently there was a shooting in Long Beach of a guy watering his yard, using a spray nozzle that did indeed resemble the general outline of a gun (photograph in news article)–apparently the police approached him and shot him with 12 rounds (killing him), without any warning, thinking the man had a gun in his hands and was threatening them–clear negligence on the part of the police in failing to properly approach the man and properly assess the situation–you didn’t hear anything about this on the mainstream press; could it be because the man had white skin?

    So there are two things that civil rights advocates for the black community can do to strengthen their support base:

    (1) Choose anecdotes to publicize/rally around in which there is clear (as opposed to ambiguous or uncertain) evidence for racial bias.

    (2) Publicize rigorous statistical studies that demonstrate systemic disparities in treatment of suspects based on race, with all other factors accounted for. This means that some of the civil rights advocates should develop expertise in statistical sociological studies, learning some things about how to design a statistical investigation, what constitutes representative sampling, controlling for correlating factors, and how to interpret the results of such studies; not confusing correlation with causation, understanding confidence intervals, etc.

    Until steps like this are taken; most of the public will likely figure it’s mainly hype and political posturing without a sound foundation of evidence; and guys like me are left shaking their heads—-are your assertions accurate? who knows?

    Incidentally, I do support the protesters in the case of Garner, as another tragic example of the increase in excessive use of force by some police (but I don’t see the evidence of racial bias–if the evidence is there, show it to me!)

  10. Tia Will

     

    TribeUSA

    you didn’t hear anything about this on the mainstream press; could it be because the man had white skin?”

    This means that some of the civil rights advocates should develop expertise in statistical sociological studies,”

    This is a very interesting set of ideas. You seem to be confusing the roles of two very different sets of people, and then blaming one for the acts of the other. Notice that in your first sentence you are citing the “mainstream press”. In the second you are commenting on “civil rights advocates”. I highly doubt that civil rights advocates are calling the shots about which cases get publicized and when at the executive level. This I believe is probably a business decision made on the basis of  what sells by those in charge of the news media in question.

    The second point of interest to me is that you seem to be saying that it is incumbent upon those who advocate for civil right to essentially have to learn a new skills set in order to effect change that should be the job of all of us.  One small example. Pastors are frequently advocates for social justice and civil rights. I do not believe that these individuals should have to take time from their duties serving their congregations to learn statistical methodology in order to convince those who don’t care to view anything beyond their own comfort zone that if choke holds are being used illegally, causing the death of a man selling cigarettes and talking back, that change is warranted and that we should all be promoting that change.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      You wrote: “I highly doubt that civil rights advocates are calling the shots about which cases get publicized and when at the executive level.”

      Have you heard of Al Sharpton or the White House? Sharpton is 1) a top figure in civil rights, 2) has a nationally broadcast TV program, and 3) meets regularly with President Barack Obama and AG Eric Holder. They’ve all been fanning the flames the past months. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi gave a speech praising “disrupters”. 

      Eric Holder has pushed through the “solutions” of the left via a consent decree on the Seattle Police Department. They have hamstrung the police, put in PC policies, all with the assumption that there is a bias and racial profiling. What has been the result?  Crime is up 20%.

      1. Tia Will

        I am well acquainted with the tactics of Al Sharpton and am in complete agreement with DP’s observation that neither he nor the White House were sources of origin of these news stories. As he said, this was internet and social media news before any of the major media or Al Sharpton or the White House became involved.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          I just googled Sharpton, and it appears he has now become a more complex figure who has decided to see both sides of the street. At the eulogy of Michael Brown, read his stances. He at first gave a traditional eulogy. Then this.

          “After a demand for broad reforms in American policing, Sharpton changed course to address his black listeners directly. “We’ve got to be straight up in our community, too,” he said. “We have to be outraged at a 9-year-old girl killed in Chicago. We have got to be outraged by our disrespect for each other, our disregard for each other, our killing and shooting and running around gun-toting each other, so that they’re justified in trying to come at us because some of us act like the definition of blackness is how low you can go….”

          “The cameras cut to director Spike Lee, on his feet applauding enthusiastically. So were Martin Luther King III, radio host Tom Joyner, and, judging by video coverage, pretty much everyone else in the church. They kept applauding when Sharpton accused some blacks of having “ghetto pity parties.” And they applauded more when Sharpton finally declared: “We’ve got to clean up our community so we can clean up the United States of America!”

          http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/at-michael-brown-funeral-al-sharptons-double-edged-eulogy-evokes-anger/article/2552433

          True change of heart, of Sister Soljah moment ala Clinton?

        2. Davis Progressive

          i just think you’ve bought into the negative aspects of sharpton and failed to recognize that he’s not the unidimensional demon you’ve created in your mind.  i don’t think he’s that bad.

        3. South of Davis

          TBD wrote:

          > DP, how do you describe the Twanna Brawley shakedown

          After a couple months of the “racist cops” debate I’ve decided that it would be easier to get a bunch of KKK members to help me tutor low income black kids than to get posters like DP to admit that ALL the problems that blacks have are not caused by racism (or that Al Sharpton is not doing anything to help blacks in America).  With that said this will be my last post on racism.  I’ll still do what I can to try and help out race relations off list, but trying to convince people on the left that think Al Sharpton will help us fix problems is almost as big a waste of time as trying to convince people on the right that Pat Robertson is the guy “bring America together”…

        4. Davis Progressive

          well it was nearly 20 years ago.  sharpton and others had ample historical reason to be skeptical that the police were not properly investigating a case where the alleged victim was a black female.  it turned out he was wrong and pressed the matter after it should have been clear – but again you’re looking at it through white eyes, black had reason to discount official claims.  on the other hand, he insisted the central park five were innocent, was derided by conservatives for it, and turned out to be right.

  11. Tia Will

    tribeUSA

    but I don’t see the evidence of racial bias–if the evidence is there, show it to me!)”

    To this, I would respond that the evidence is probably all around you, but invisible to you because it is not within your day to day experience. A good starting point would be to speak directly with members of the black community about their own personal experiences with police or security. One caveat, is that you would have to be willing to accept their accounts as representative of their reality instead of dismissing it as some kind of “brain washing” or “victim mentality” if their experience is different from your own.

    A second possibility would be to attend a forum on minority experiences, again with an open mind. My experience is that some accounts tend to be told in a very emotional manner and sometimes it is hard to believe that there is not some embellishment ( or at least lack of understanding of process ) being expressed. However, many people’s stories are corroborated and/or completely believable as related. Just because injustice does not involve those of us who are not ever targeted because of the color of our skin, does not mean that no one is.

    If you doubt this, ask yourself which boy is more likely to be suspected of gang activity if wearing a red blazer and tatoo ? The innocent blonde, blue eyed kid walking down the street towards the  convenience store in Davis ( where he lives) or the brown skinned, brown eyed Hispanic kid ( equally innocent) walking towards the convenience store in his neighborhood in West Sac or Woodland. If you don’t believe this, then you have not heard it directly from the law enforcement officers yourself at the very educational Citizens Academy. This was an eye opening experience for me in terms of predetermination of likely guilt based on nothing more than physical appearance by our law enforcement community in their own words.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I have been involved with this community for decades. Yes, there are occasionally cases of racial wrongdoing. There is also a high level of violent crime and disrespect to police and communal norms that wouldn’t be tolerated in Davis, Elk Grove, or elsewhere. Many cities are war zones, there are public housing complexes where the police won’t go to at night.

      The accounts of many in the black and liberal community are skewed for a variety of reasons. Even Levar Burton recounts what he believes is police wrongdoing on a youtube clip. He also recounts a recent traffic stop he had. He admits that a) the officer had a reason to pull him over, and b) he did give the officer attitude. There also appears to be a cognitive dissonance on several levels. Countless times I’ve seen on TV or in person members of the black community asking the police or society to “do something” about crime, but then when their neighbor or gang member is arrested, these same people say “why are they arresting our men”?

      The press is overwhelmingly liberal, and clings to the narrative of white oppressor, black victim. Part of this is also their own fear for their livelihood, because there are a few items that are likely to get you fired, which include taking on unpopular issues with the black or Jewish community.

      So the Bosnia father hammered to death is passed over. There was a little local coverage of the growing black-on-Asian crime in the Bay Area, but no national coverage that I know of.

      The Sony emails recently showed some email banter between Hollywood heavyweights that was at least a stereotype, if not racist, directed at President Barack Obama. Given the standing and historic importance of President Obama, the near silence from the media on the comments from Amy Pascal and Rubin is baffling but predictable. They’re white, but they get a pass.

       

      1. Tia Will

        TBD

        So the Bosnia father hammered to death is passed over”

        You are conveniently neglecting to acknowledge that the Bosnian father was not beaten to death by the police. That is the issue under discussion in these threads. You continue to want to bring up civilian on civilian violence to distract from the issue of community sponsored and vindicated violence on the part of the police.

        This violence is “sponsored” by the community in the kinds of force that we allow our police to use through policy, procedure and training. It is “vindicated” by the decision on the part of the DAs whose presentations sway the grand jury in the direction that they wish to lead, namely in exoneration of the police.

        This is a different issue and should be a different conversation entirely from civilian on civilian violence which is in itself a worthy topic but should not distract from the issue of state sanctioned violence.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Then why have you never mentioned one time the black officer who shot and killed an unarmed  white civilian at 7/11? In fact, neither you nor I even know his name!

          Because it doesn’t fit the narrative of the left.

          A few decades ago the concept of “black on black crime” became a topic of discussion, and I read that civil rights advocates made an effort to go to newsrooms and media and squash this line of dialog as they thought it wasn’t helpful.

  12. Tia Will

     

    Would a sergeant really let a racist beating go on, right before her eyes, or were they following procedure? “

    Interesting question. My historically based answer would be “maybe”. We have the known example where the Chief of campus police of UCD allowed illegal use of  unapproved equipment by officers untrained in its use to occur “right before her eyes”.

    I think that the references to an African American sergeant on site are nothing more than distractions from the question of whether or not the use of an illegal choke hold in the face of direct information that the individual could not breathe was justified whether one considers the case to represent racism or deliberate use of excessive force.

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I believe this tragic case raises many questions, racism isn’t one of them. This gentle giant was arrested numerous other times, and nothing bad happened. To believe your view, we have to believe the African American boss is racist, or blind to racism, which doesn’t pass the smell test. She has probably witnessed hundreds of other white, red, blue and green suspects arrested who didn’t die.

      As a medical doctor, I would think you would have raised the other highly relevant issues. He was morbidly obese, and had asthma. combining his weight, plus an officer laying on top of him, was a big part of what took his life.

      A lawyer told me there is something called the ‘broken china’ or such legal concept, which means that if you injure a little old lady or this man who has a fragile condition, you’re responsible. This will probably be part of any civil lawsuit.

      1. Tia Will

        TBD First, I fail to see how viewing episodes of events that I already know occur is going to be doing me a favor. However, more to your point, the fact that 2.2 seconds are required to draw and fire, to me is a very good argument for practicing prevention and de escalation of hostilities. As RC and others have pointed out, polices and training practices that keep police out of such situations are probably much more effective than hoping they perform well when they do have to shoot especially given the statistics on how rare it is for any given police to actually discharge his gun in the field.  Sounds like everyone would be much safer if this were seen as the absolutely last resort rather than a situation that you would choose to escalate yourself into.

      2. Tia Will

        TBD

        As a doctor, or any other observer, there was no need to mention his various conditions as many others had already done so. The irrefutable fact is that this man was alive prior to the application of the choke hold, and dead at the end of it. This is not neurosurgery ! This man’s death was the direct result of the application of excessive force and that I believe is irrefutable.

    2. Miwok

      Good point, TBD, but since Tia bounced back a forth a bit to reference UC Davis and pepper spray, I will comment on that:

      The Chief was there but not in charge, not even in uniform. The officers were made up of several different agencies, because some agencies refused to help. There was a guy directing the police wearing a suit holding bullhorns and directing the officers, and video taping the incident. When I asked who that guy was, long time employees who knew many people on campus for decades could not identify him.

      The various investigations did not name him, but the investigations did identify the agencies and what they did. The fact the Chancellor ordered the action has not also gone unnoticed.

      All that is out there, plus many non-Police videos of the incident, which were fascinating, because they were in the middle of the Quad. For those who are from out of town, picture a park with large trees and a sidewalk running down the middle, with the whole block surrounded by roads and sidewalks. Students were arrested for blocking a field! A few faculty members did more to cost the University in more tangible ways during the same time frame. US Bank severed ties to them because of a certain faculty member.

    3. Jerry Waszczuk

      Interesting question. My historically based answer would be “maybe”. We have the known example where the Chief of campus police of UCD allowed illegal use of  unapproved equipment by officers untrained in its use to occur “right before her eyes”.

      Tia . What are you talking about ? First question is? How the hell  the illegal an unapproved equipment found place in the UC Davis campus ?

      Are you referring to Lt. Pike as an untrained UCD PD officer  in “Chemical Katehi’s ” order to attack protesting students   with gas  in November 2011 gas  attack?  If so that Lt. Pike was  supervisor who trained other  officers together with   Lt Barbour who was moved to UC Davis Medical  Center with significant  wages demotion. Chief Annette Spicuzza and Lt. Pike  became a  scape goats regardless what was done. This what they told to do it .Just  one month before  gas attack I was exchanging correspondence with Cpt. Joyce Souza and Lt. Pike (Cpt. Souza is gone as well). The present Chief was in Medical Center at that time and Katehi ordered confidential report on me in November 2011 than   Katehi regime went after me and wasted me in Decemeber 2012.  This is fascist regime and this regime is not taking prisoners . This whole Reynoso Report is a cover up garbage for what really did   happened in November 2011 and who was giving orders .

      One of participant in this report was UC  Senior Vice President Dooley who was in charge also in my retaliation complaint . Report in my case is 266 pages and few thousands of document . I did not get it yet but I got confirmation that UCOP PRA office is working by blacking out pages I should not see .  Child Porn , my coworker suicide and other stuff  in UC Davis Medical Center.

       

      Regards

      J

       

       

  13. Tia Will

    Then why have you never mentioned one time the black officer who shot and killed an unarmed  white civilian at 7/11? In fact, neither you nor I even know his name!”

    I would suggest that you and I do not know more about this incident because we have not bothered to investigate it. You clearly had at least heard about it. I don’t think this has anything at all to do with “leftist media”. Why isn’t it all over Fox or any of the right wing media ? Why have you not posted a link to it ?   I don’t think it is reasonable to start flinging about accusations when we have not at least done any rudimentary investigating on our own.

    It is also important to decide what parameter to monitor when citing statistics. From yesterdays article in Real Clear Politics opining ( correctly in my point of view) that there is no “epidemic of black men being shot by white police” there are two interesting numbers quoted.

    In 2012, according to the CDC, 140 blacks were killed by police. That same year 386 whites were killed by police. Over the 13-year period from 1999 to 2011, the CDC reports that 2,151 whites were killed by cops — and 1,130 blacks were killed by cops.”  So on the surface, many more whites than blacks killed by police, right ?  But now, for the second number.

    By 2011, law enforcement shootings caused 2.74 deaths for every million blacks, and 1.28 deaths for every million whites.” So now, when the rates are provided, the death rate for blacks at the hands of police is twice that of whites. These are not my numbers, they are those of the CDC.

    So while there is no apparent epidemic, it does appear that the rate of black deaths  at the hands of police is twice that of whites.

    Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/12/18/racial_cop_stories_that_didnt_make_the_cut_125004.html#ixzz3MOd4Xz6y
    Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter

     

     

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      But we know from the DOJ crime statistics that African Americans commit proportionally more crime, by multiples, which would indicate that they’d have more “interactions” with the police.

  14. tribeUSA

    Tia-as TBD alludes to, the rate per entire population of citizens is not the pertinent rate; the pertinent rate is obviously the rate per population of people that are being pursued and/or arrested by the police (or perhaps the rate per suspect). C’mon Tia, you know better than this–I have to wonder if you are being disingenuous (in contrast to journalists who write articles for the mainstream popular media, most of whom have little or no understanding of statistics or how to interpret statistical results).

  15. Tia Will

    TBD

    Your comment assumes that the police do not make more pursuit and arrests of people based on their skin color. I am not convinced that this is the case. If this were to be the case, then entire population stats would be relevant.

    The DOJ stats are based on police apprehensions and convictions, not on actual crimes committed ( which of course cannot be counted if the person escapes or is never charged). Could it not be the case that it appears that those of color commit more crime because the police are spending more of their time policing and apprehending in those areas and that whites are essentially getting a pass for the same type of behavior ?

    I would like to share an example of differential treatment based on perceived status. Many years ago I was driving in fast lane, over 80 mph, on my way home from work. It was completely unintentional. I was simply thinking not about my driving but about my last patient of the day. I got pulled over by the CHP who asked me if I knew how fast I was going. I answered honestly, not until I saw your lights, and that I wasn’t thinking about it until then. He asked me what I had been thinking about. Still wearing my badge, I answered honestly, the last patient of the day. He gave me a brief comment about the importance of focus and safe driving, a warning, and wished me a good evening and safe return to my family. How many of you believe that a black kid with tatoos doing exactly the same speed would have been treated the same ? How many of you believe that you would have been treated the same ? My point is not about race. It is about differential perception and treatment based on perceived status. Oh…..wait…..there are a number of members of our community who believe that these two characteristics are the same in the eyes of many in law enforcement.  I am not saying that they are correct or incorrect, merely that their perception based on their life experiences may be quite different from yours or mine.

     

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I was in a car overflowing with people where the driver, an African American man, had been drinking (we all had been). He crossed over the middle line numerous times, his speed was up and down,  and his blinker was on for 2 miles late at night, having exited a celebration.

      We were pulled over by the police, and he was given a warning by a white male police officer in a white wealthy community.

      There are lots of reasons why cops give tickets, or don’t. We happened to have a bride and groom in the car, and the officer allowed us to go with a warning as long as we went back directly to our hotel, at the speed limit, within the yellow lines. My friend was polite, gave no lip or attitude, and showed the officer respect.

      So yes, Tia, in this case my friend was given more leeway than you, a doctor lost in post-op thought. And this is fact, not theory or supposition.

    2. tribeUSA

      Tia–yes, but you are lumping together several issues into one. Statistical analyses that focus separately on each individual major aspect of the problem have the potential power to actually be able to distinguish wherein the discrepancies lie. So one aspect of the problem is given the population of people being pursued, arrested, or otherwise interacting with the police, is there a racial discrepancy in the use of excessive force involved? Another aspect of the problem, as you correctly and legitimately mention, is whether or not law enforcement selectively arrests/apprehends different races out of proportion to their involvement in crime; i.e. what is the ratio of the number of arrests for racial group X relative to the number of crimes committed per racial group X; and determine/estimate the same ratio for racial groups Y, Z, etc.  And yes, I take your point about the role of status as well and this is undoubtedly a big factor in treatment–but also you undoubtably have a gracious manner; and also I will stereotype and say that women have an advantage in such a situation like this with cops; at least male cops tend to be wiled by the smiles of females more than that of males, even though mine may be just as pretty (OK, maybe not).

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