The Face of Neighborhood Watch: George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch captain in Florida who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin
Crime in Los Angeles is a gritty enterprise, and donning an LAPD badge has historically involved getting your hands dirty. Long before the New York Police Department was spying on Muslim students, the LAPD was running a large-scale domestic spy operation in the 1970s and ’80s, snooping on and infiltrating more than 200 political, labor and civic organizations including the office of then Mayor Tom Bradley. Today, the LAPD isn’t quite so aggressive, but it still employs a directive titled Special Order 1, which permits police officers to deem what is “suspicious” and then act on it.
SO 1 enables LAPD officers to file Suspicious Activity Reports on observed behaviors or activities. Where things get murky, however, is how SAR guidelines categorize constitutionally protected, non-criminal and commonplace activities such as using binoculars, snapping photographs and taking notes as indicators of terrorism-related activity. The SARs are coupled with the LAPD’s iWatch program, a campaign the police pioneered to encourage regular citizens to report “suspicious” activity, including “a person wearing clothes that are too big or too hot for the weather,” or things that just plain old don’t “look right.”
Far from being merely a local phenomenon, the standardized program that the LAPD developed in 2008 served as the lead model for a National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative. “Success” stories from the LAPD’s program are used in national training material, and the LAPD touts it as “the first program in the U.S. to create a national standard” for terrorism-related procedures. Continue reading
[When a politician–a Congressman–calls for justice for a victim of racial profiling, he has stepped over the line of acceptable conduct for bourgeois politicians. Bobby Rush, who is the only politician who defeated Barack Obama in an election, has moved a long way from his Black Panther roots–but felt the need to make a call for justice over the outrageous murder of Trayvon Martin. Yet, he was removed from the floor of Congress for wearing a symbolic hoodie while making this call. — Frontlines ed.]
Illinois Rep. Removed From House Floor After Donning Hoodie for Trayvon Martin
March 28, 2012
Video of Congressman Bobby Rush wearing hoodie on House Floor 3/28/2012
Members of the New York City Council have worn them. Players on the Miami Heat were photographed wearing them. Numerous celebrities have donned them. And on Wednesday, Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., was escorted from the House floor for wearing one while addressing members of Congress over the killing of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teenager who was gunned down last month.
We’re of course talking about hooded sweatshirts. A hoodie is the article of clothing that Geraldo Rivera claimed was as much responsible for Martin’s death—he was wearing one at the time he was shot—as George Zimmerman, the man holding the gun that claimed Martin’s young life.
Rush took to the House floor to call for a full investigation into the shooting death of 17-year-old Martin. Continue reading