[The capitalist state in the US has, from its very beginning, enforced its subjugation of the Africans enslaved, of indigenous who survived conquest and genocide, and many others subordinated through colonialism, including millions drawn from foreign conquests for cheap labor in the US. These oppressed peoples have continued to be subjected to forms of “racist profiling” at the hands of police and other repressive agencies–harassment, stalking, persecution–which in New York City goes by the name “stop and frisk.” After years of literally millions of these encounters with abusive police–unquestioned by the mass media–massive protests have brought the issue to public light. Now, as the political price for this ongoing abuse continues to rise, there are “reform” moves–for the police to be more polite, to issue apologies along with the abuse, or for “stop and frisk” programs to get new names. But communities long targeted for such abuse have always known: even smiling police are still pigs in oppressed communities. The New York Times article, below, looks at the effects of this reforms. — Frontlines ed.]
“The officers asked for ID. They threw in the word ‘sir.’ They are trying to belittle you by saying ‘sir,’ like being sarcastic in a way, like, ‘I’m really your sir. You have to do what I say.’’ — Barlo Jones, 28, Brownsville, Brooklyn
Rude or Polite, City’s Officers Leave Raw Feelings in Stops
By WENDY RUDERMAN, New Yok Times, June 26, 2012
Most of the time, the officers swoop in, hornetlike, with a command to stop: “Yo! You, come here. Get against the wall.”
They batter away with questions, sometimes laced with profanity, racial slurs and insults: “Where’s the weed?” “Where’s the guns?”
The officers tell those who ask why they have been stopped to shut up, using names like immigrant, old man or “bro.”
Next comes the frisk, the rummaging through pockets and backpacks. Then they are gone.
Other times, the officers are polite, their introductions almost gentle. “Hey, how’s it going?” “Can you step over here, sir?” “We’d like to talk to you.”
The questions are probing, authoritative, but less accusatory. “What are you doing here?” “Do you live here?” “Can I see some identification, please?” During the pat-down, they ask, “Do you have anything on you?” They nudge further: “You don’t mind if I search you, do you?” They explain that someone of a matching description robbed a store a few days ago, or that the stop is a random one, part of a program in a high-crime area. Then they apologize for the stop and say the person is free to go.
In interviews with 100 people who said they had been stopped by the New York police in neighborhoods where the practice is most common, many said the experience left them feeling intruded upon and humiliated. And even when officers extended niceties, like “Have a nice night,” or called them “sir” and “ma’am,” people said they questioned whether the officer was being genuine.
Michael Delgado, 18, said he was last stopped on Grant Street in East New York, Brooklyn. “I was walking, and a cop said, ‘Where’s the weed?’ ” he recalled. “In my mind, I’m like, ‘Yo, this guy’s a racist.’ He started frisking me, his hands were in my pockets, but I didn’t say anything because my mom always tells me: ‘No altercations. Let him do his thing.’ ”
When the stop-and-frisk was done, Mr. Delgado said, the officer left him with a casual aside to stay safe.
“Stay safe?” Mr. Delgado said. “After he just did all that?”
Last year, city police officers stopped nearly 686,000 people, 84 percent of them black or Latino. The vast majority — 88 percent of the stops — led to neither an arrest nor a summons, although officers said they had enough reasonable suspicion to conduct a frisk in roughly half of the total stops, according to statistics provided by the New York Police Department and the Center for Constitutional Rights. Continue reading →