Stop and frisk as a rite of passage

I just finished watching a news report from the program Democracy Now about the stop and frisk crime fighting strategy used in New York City. The police are given wide latitude to stop and frisk suspicious people. Evidence being presented in the lawsuit against stop and frisk includes tapes of police supervisors talking about what their expectations of  rank and file police officers.

A young black man interviewed by Democracy Now described being stopped and frisked as a kind of rite of passage in degradation. It reminded me of Gil Scot Heron and his songs like No Knock about warrant less often violent encounters with police during the notorious law and order era of Richard Nixon. I also recall the story of the black youth killed by Brooklyn police last month, touching off a series of protests and allegations of racism. As Gil Scot Heron would say, “New York is like Johannesburg in apartheid South Africa.”

How long can our people be subjected to such lawless behavior? In a state that crossed one barrier and joined the freedom to marry, it seems that the old barrier of walking while black still remains to be overcome.


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