All Articles Tagged "racial profiling"
Last week while waiting for a friend at Newark International Airport, rapper-turned-reality star Jim Jones was approached by a police officer who claimed he smelled marijuana coming from the Harlem M.C.’s vehicle, TMZ reports.
The way the story is being told, not long after the first officer approached Jim, three more officers joined him. They are said to have then ordered him to step out of his vehicle and place both hands on the trunk of his car. Officers then ransacked the car in search of drugs and contraband, in addition to giving the Chrissy & Mr. Jones star a thorough pat down.
Their seemingly unwarranted search turned up empty. One officer wrote Jim a citation for driving without a license and then officers left the scene.
“He was searched for nothing more than racial profiling,” a representative on behalf of Jones told TMZ.
The rep also revealed that Jim is furious over what happened. A spokesperson for the New York/New Jersey Port Authority expressed that they will be looking into the incident.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever been harassed by law enforcement?
Since August, there have been some fairly controversial billboards popping up on bus shelters in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn that are reminding residents that “racism still exists”. Each month, a different form of racial injustice is highlighted by the billboards. Thus far, the campaign ads have tackled issues such as entertainment, smoking, policing, fast food and Black wealth.
This month’s ad is confronting the controversial Stop-and-Frisk tactics of the NYPD, which are highly criticized for their impact on Black and Hispanic men. The attention-grabbing billboard reads:
“Don’t want to get stopped by the NYPD? Stop being Black.”
The organization behind these billboards remain anonymous, but what we do know is that the campaign series is a part of a project entitled RISE. A brief excerpt, which provides background information on the campaign, found on the group’s Tumblr page reads:
“Although public commentary describes the United States as “post-racial”, racism continues to exert a very real and pervasive influence on institutional policies and processes, interpersonal interactions, neighborhood infrastructure, socioeconomic opportunities, media imagery, and more. RISE is a project designed to illuminate some of the ways in which racism operates in this country.”
According to Colorlines.com, although the group maintains their anonymity, New York activists applaud them for their efforts.
“Bed-Stuy, and Brooklyn in general, is going through a very profound transformation and we gotta put that in context [...] For many of the young yuppies and buppies, they see the police playing a positive role and trying to engage in a race neutral dialogue. What the billboard is doing is kinda opening up and exploding this myth that [stop-and-frisk] is taking place in a race neutral light — it’s making people confront it in a very real way. I applaud the effort. If the intent was to shake things up, I think they did their job,” expressed Kali Akuno, an organizer affiliated with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s New York Chapter.
Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise
Would Conversations Have a Different Tone If The Newtown School Shooter Were Black? CNN Panelist David Sirota Thinks So
As more details of the Sandy Hook School shooting are revealed and the news of this horrific tragedy begins to settle in the minds of many Americans as they try to make sense of it, many questions and issues have risen to the surface. Gun control and mental illness have been major topics of conversation stemming from the tragedy and now, race and ethnicity has also become a factor. In an article featured on Salon.com entitled “Time To Profile White Men?”, author David Sirota somewhat rekindled the age-old conversation regarding the imbalance of criminal profiling between White men and men of other races.
“ Any honest observer should be able to admit that if the gunmen in these mass shootings mostly had, say, Muslim names or were mostly, say, African-American men, the country right now wouldn’t be confused about the causes of the violence, and wouldn’t be asking broad questions. There would probably be few queries or calls for reflection, and mostly definitive declarations blaming the bloodshed squarely on Islamic fundamentalism or black nationalism, respectively. Additionally, we would almost certainly hear demands that the government intensify the extantprofiling systems already aimed at those groups.”
Of course, Sirota was painted as a villain by several news outlets for “injecting” race into discussions of the tragedy. Sirota recently appeared as a panelist on Don Lemon’s CNN show to discuss the controversy as well as his stance on the subject.
“I think we should ask the question why is America 30 percent white guys, and 70 percent of the shootings in the last many decades have been at the hands of white guys … I do think it’s interesting to note that had 70 percent of mass shooters been let’s say Arab or African-American men, I think the conversation would be … much uglier.”
David also expressed that he felt this odd imbalance was a form of White privilege.
“And and I think that it’s good we’re having a nuanced conversation about all sorts of things — mental illness, gun control — but I hope that the next time something bad happens … that if it’s not a white guy, that we remember that we shouldn’t ascribe to entire groups … the bad actions of individuals. Because we’re not doing that right now, and I’m not saying that we should, but I think we should remember that the reason we’re not, is because it’s a form of white privilege.”
What do you think? Would discussions of the Sandy Hook school shooter be more harsh if he were Black? Is it too soon for this conversation to be taking place? Check out footage of David Sirota’s conversation with Don Lemon here.
From Black Voices
There is a large population of American citizens who call New York City their home, yet are living behind enemy lines. Despite being, in many cases contributing members of society, students and simply normal everyday people, these mostly black and brown men are stopped, searched, harassed, berated and in some cases beaten everyday by the NYPD, the most notorious police department in the United States.
It seems as if America is moving closer and closer toward becoming a police state. Some form of democracy, but a form only for a certain population of individuals, who live in certain parts of town. In the wake of the Occupy movement, which sprouted up in cities throughout the country as well as abroad, incidents involving police brutality have seen a tremendous increase. From the now infamous video of a group of college students, peacefully protesting on campus, being pepper sprayed to multiple videos showing unwarranted police beatings, the outrage most American’s once had about this level of anarchy has just about disappeared.
Read more at Black Voices
Tyler Perry got very personal with his Facebook fans over the weekend and detailed an incident on his page when he was pulled over for what he considers to be “driving while black.” Outrage over Trayvon Martin’s case sparked Tyler to share his own story of racial profiling involving the Atlanta police, and in looking at his own situation and Trayvon’s, Tyler said racial profiling should be considered a hate crime by the FBI.
Here’s part of what Tyler’s note said:
A few days before President Obama was supposed to speak at my studio, I was leaving the studio, headed to the airport. Most times when I leave the studio I have an unmarked escort. Other times I constantly check in my rearview mirror to be sure that I’m not being followed. It’s a safety precaution that my security team taught me. As I got to an intersection, I made a left turn from the right lane and was pulled over by two police officers. I pulled the car over and put it in park. Then, I let the window down and sat in the car waiting for the officer. The officer came up to the driver’s door and said that I made an illegal turn. I said, “I signaled to get into the turning lane, then made the turn because I have to be sure I’m not being followed.” He said, “why do you think someone would be following you?”
Before I could answer him, I heard a hard banging coming from the passenger window. I had never been in this position before so I asked the officer who was at my window what was going on and why is someone banging on the window like that. He said, “let your window down, let your window down. Your windows are tinted.” As I let down the passenger window, there was another officer standing on the passenger side of the car. He said, “what is wrong with you?” The other officer said to him, “he thinks he’s being followed.” Then, the second officer said, “why do you think someone is following you? What is wrong with you?”
Before I could answer the officer on the passenger side, the one on the driver’s side had reached into the car and started pulling on the switch that turns the car on and off, saying, “put your foot on the brake, put your foot on the brake!” I was so confused as to what he was doing, or what he thought he was doing. It looked like he was trying to pull the switch out of the dashboard. I finally realized that he thought that switch was the key, so I told him that it wasn’t the key he was grabbing. I reached down into the cup holder to get the key, not realizing that the key had a black leather strap on it. As I grabbed it they both tensed up and I dropped it as I heard my mother’s voice from when I was a little boy….
The officer on the driver’s side continued to badger me, “why do you think someone is following you?” I then said, “I think you guys need to just write the ticket and do whatever you need to do.” It was so hostile. I was so confused. It was happening so fast that I could easily see how this situation could get out of hand very quickly. I didn’t feel safe at all. But one officer stopped his questioning and said, “we may not let you go. You think you’re being followed, what’s wrong with you?” At this point, I told him that I wanted to get out of the car. I wanted the passersby to see what was happening.
As I stepped out of the car another officer pulled up in front of my car. This officer was a black guy. He took one look at me and had that “Oh No” look on his face. He immediately took both officers to the back of my car and spoke to them in a hushed tone. After that, one of the officers stayed near his car while one came back, very apologetic.
I said all of that to say this: do you see how quickly this could have turned for the worse?
Tyler went on to say that he obviously knows there are many great police officers and patrolmen that don’t stop people solely based on their color but that doesn’t change the fact that racial profiling is still very much alive, despite any strides that have been made. He also called attention to another case that he said is just as tragic as Trayvon’s.
Another case that I have been screaming at the top of my lungs about, also in Florida, is the case of Terrance Williams and Felipe Santos, a young black man and a young Mexican man. Eight years ago, in Naples, FL, they were both put in the back of Deputy Steve Calkins’ police car and never heard from again.
They were never arrested, never brought to jail. They were put into the back of Deputy Calkins’ car and never heard from again. And to this day Deputy Steve Calkins is a free man.
I guess it’s time to march in Naples now.
RACIAL PROFILING SHOULD BE A HATE CRIME INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!!
That way local government can’t make the decision on whether or not these people get punished.
Unfortunately, we’d still have to trust that the FBI wouldn’t turn a blind eye to these incidents.
Do you think racial profiling will ever be put on the same level as a hate crime?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Hundreds of people, along with the parents of Trayvon Martin, took to Union Square in Manhattan to call for the arrest of George Zimmerman, and to also help put an end to racial profiling. (Shout out to FOX News–sarcasm–for having a headline on the situation that says, “suspected racism fuels anger…” Suspected? Sorry, I thought it was pretty clear…). As most know by now, Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer killed the 17-year-old young man in Sanford, FL after a confrontation that came from following the teen because he thought Martin looked suspicious. Martin was wearing his hoodie and only had Skittles and can of ice tea in hand. Zimmerman called shooting the unarmed teen an act of self-defense, but aside from the shoddy police in Sanford, nobody else is buying it at this point.
For the march, people came out in hoodies to represent the attire Martin was wearing when he was gunned down. Demonstrators held up signs, even some Skittles, and did chants that called for justice. According to an New York NBC affiliate, Martin’s parents went on the ‘Today’ show and his father, Tracy Martin, set the record straight as to why his hoodie shouldn’t have been suspicious at all: “He was on his way home. He had every right to have on his hoodie. It was raining. Why not put on his hoodie to prevent getting wet?”
On top of marching yesterday, people also took to social media to take photos of themselves wearing hoodies, all while using the hashtag on Twitter, #millionhoodies. During the march, Travyon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, spoke to the crowd and let them know that “This is not a black and white thing – this is about a right or wrong thing.” Someone clearly needs to do the right thing and put this man in jail, to do otherwise at this point would be a travesty…
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We all know the racial profiling that comes with driving while black, but what about babysitting while white? That’s the type of discrimination Austin, TX, grandfather Scott Henson says he’s been subjected to when he’s been out an about with the five-year-old daughter of his goddaughter, Ty, who happens to be black.
On his blog, Grits for Breakfast, Scott detailed two instances in the past three years when he’s been randomly and aggressively questioned by police officers for no other reason, he says, than being a white man walking down the street with a little black girl. The most recent occurrence happened this past Friday when Scott was walking home from a roller skating rink with his granddaughter and was soon swarmed by several police squad cars with officers saying they received an anonymous tip that a white man had kidnapped a black girl. Scott said the officers ran up behind him and instantly cuffed him.
“Ty edged up the hill away from the officers, crying. One of them called out in a comforting tone that they weren’t there to hurt her, but another officer blew up any good will that might have garnered by brusquely snatching her up and scuttling her off to the back seat of one of the police cars,” he wrote on his blog.
Despite giving contact information of several people who could verify his relationship with Ty, Scott said police refused to call the numbers. Eventually, he was released without an apology, but not before 10 squad cars circled him on the bike bath where he was walking not far from his home. Scott says he endured similar treatment in November 2008, when Austin police were on the hunt for two suspected killers. Because he was insulted at the officer’s behavior, Scott says in each instance he was terse with police and felt no obligation to cooperate given their hasty judgement.
Although he doesn’t appreciate the unfair treatment, Scott says he’s less concerned with how the police manhandle him and more worried about the impact their actions are having on Ty.
“I’d like her to view police as people she can trust instead of threats to her and her family, but it’s possible I live in the wrong neighborhood for that,” he wrote.
That’s a pretty interesting perspective that may likely become more or less common as interracial relationships between black women and white men become more prevalent, and children from previous relationships potentially come into play.
Have you ever witnessed or heard of any racial profiling experience like this?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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(New York Times) — Kirsten John Foy says that everything happens for a reason — and that the reason he and a black New York City councilman, Jumaane D. Williams, were briefly detained by the police at a parade on Sept. 5 was to call attention to racial bias in policing. But the event also had a secondary effect: It pushed Mr. Foy, a charismatic former aide to the Rev. Al Sharpton, into the political spotlight. At a news conference on the steps of City Hall the day after he and Mr. Williams were handcuffed, Mr. Foy, 35, who is an aide to the city’s public advocate, Bill de Blasio, grabbed the crowd’s attention, describing with a preacher’s cadences and vivid turns of phrase the stop-and-frisk practices he said the police used “to terrorize our communities.” Before he had finished speaking, some were already talking about whether he might consider a run for the City Council.
(Crain’s) — The arrest of a black city councilman and top aide to the public advocate after the West Indian Day Parade yesterday has renewed criticism of the Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which critics say has given cover for police to inappropriately target otherwise law-abiding minorities. The outcry, on display at a City Hall press conference Tuesday morning that was attended by more than a dozen high-ranking state and city officials, stems from a Monday incident when police briefly handcuffed and detained Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams and the public advocate’s director of public affairs, Kirsten John Foy. The conflict came at the tail end of a particularly violent weekend that saw nearly three dozen shootings, several fatalities and the wounding of two police officers. Police maintained a heightened presence and state of alert Monday around the parade site near Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
(New York Times) — A federal judge on Wednesday rejected an effort to dismiss a case claiming that New York City police officers use race as a factor in stopping people on the streets, sometimes to frisk them, saying there is enough evidence for a jury to decide. Lawyers for the city had argued that no trial was necessary and moved to dismiss a lawsuit against the city and its police force. In the suit, the Center for Constitutional Rights alleges a widespread pattern of stops based not on reasonable suspicion of individuals but on racial profiling in the Police Department’s “stop, question and frisk” policy.