Bad Justice: Black Male

This just smells of straight up lazy Police work.

While sitting in my backyard I heard adult male voices around the side of the house. I opened the gate and saw a white police officer handcuffing my 13-year-old son. The plainclothes Evanston, Illinois, officer and his partner did not identify themselves as police. They did not ask our son’s age or where he lived. They told him first to put his hands up and then handcuffed him. They assumed he was guilty, of what we didn’t know. His crime appeared to be that he was a black male.

Later, we would listen to the 911 tape of what preceded the incident. It was apparent police had targeted my son while he was riding his bike home from a friend’s house. Why? According to officers, he fit the description of a burglary suspect who had allegedly entered a nearby home. The description they offered: a black male wearing cargo shorts.

Our son was wearing cargo shorts, but that identification could have applied to hundreds of black males in Evanston on that particular day. Why didn’t the 911 dispatcher ask for a more detailed description of his skin color? His build? Whether he had facial hair? (He doesn’t.) Whether he had a tattoo or piercings? (He doesn’t.) Or whether he was wearing a hat? (He was.)

Story of why the call was made here.

Reeks of lazy Police work, and a wrongful arrest. Sorry “Black male wearing cargo shorts” is pretty darn vague, and covers a LOT of ground. I’m not a huge fan of the whole “Driving while black”, as I know lots of white folks getting pulled over for a bullshit traffic stop, and I know lots of stories of black males doing all sorts of depraved shit, and getting rightfully arrested, but somehow think its only relevant to their skin color.

This doesn’t seem to be one of those cases.

h/t Mrs. Weer’d

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3 Responses to Bad Justice: Black Male

  1. Kristopher says:

    I’m not so sure this was one of those.

    They got a report of a burglary in the area by a teenage black kid in blue cargo shorts. They detained the first one they found in the area. They brought the witness over, who promptly cleared the kid.

    How did the police screw up?

  2. ChrisM says:

    I was with em right up till “Trayvon Martin’s killer has claimed self-defense, but did Martin deserve to be approached by a neighborhood watchman and shot to death? He was carrying a bag with soda and some Skittles candy, not a weapon.”

  3. Geodkyt says:

    Kid matches the basic description of the perp “Black male in blue cargo shorts” is pretty typical for a hasty descrpition.

    “Tall” is so subjective that following a 5’6″ teenager on a bike who otherwise matches the description (how do you estimate the height of a guy on a bike?). Unless the description is “really freakin’ tall — he had to duck to go out the 7′ doorway!”, eyewitness perception of height is inaccurate enough that 5’6″ is within the realm of possibility.

    After noticing the cops, the kid dismounts his bike, and starts to walk up a path (presumeably a path that won’t accomodate a cruiser, else it would likely be called a “road”). While perfectly innocent in this case, it is also the profile of a perp who is about to pull a runner.

    Cop restrains and cuffs the subject for interview. This reduces the threat if the kid is dangerous (you think a kid who looks 13 is automatically incapable of being a gun or knife toting full-fledged punk? I have some ocean-front property in South Dakota to sell you), and it also means if he breaks away and pulls a runner, the cop has a chance to catch him (ever tried to chase down a teenager who was trying to get away, especially when encumbered by uniform shoes and a 20 pound BatBelt?).

    An adult, almost certainly identifying herself as his mother comes up and proclaims his innocence. Unfortunately, after about the two hundredth time you’ve heard the same exact claim about stone cold bad guys you have absolutely positive evidence on (store security camera footage full face-on, kid was stupid enough to post video of his crime on YouTube, fingerprints on the gun AND the inside of the cash register, etc,) you tend to be a bit jaded and unwilling to accept, “My angel didn’t do anything, he’s a good boy!” as 100% proof of innocence.

    Actual witness drives up and clears the kid — cop releases him and heads out to try and find the actual perp.

    Family screams, “RACISM!” Also in news, sunrise will occur tomorrow morning.


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