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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

More Cops and Blacks Stories

6 Baltimore police officers suspended in Freddie Gray case
Man injured during arrest in west Baltimore dies
Freddie Gray, 25, was critically injured after his arrest April 12. He died early Sunday morning at Shock Trauma. According to the family's lawyer, Gray suffered a severe spinal cord injury.
What was his crime?
According to a police charging document obtained by the WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team on Monday, officers arrested Gray on a west Baltimore street because he "fled unprovoked upon noting police presence in the neighborhood."
"The officers made eye contact, he ran, and the officers pursued," Batts said.
Officers chased Gray down the street and caught him.
"The officer then noticed a knife clipped to the inside of his pants pocket. The defendant was arrested without force or incident," according to the charging document.
The officer then writes in the charging document that Gray suffered a medical emergency during transport but it doesn't say how, where or when.

Broken Taillight Policing
When cops stop black drivers for minor traffic violations, it’s often a pretext for something more sinister. Jamelle Bouie

From sociologists Charles R. Epp, Steven Maynard-Moody, and Donald Haider-Markel in their massive study of traffic stops in the Kansas City metropolitan area, Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship. The authors identify two kinds of stops: traffic safety and investigatory. In the former, drivers are stopped for clearly breaking traffic laws, from speeding to driving under the influence. These stops are straightforward. Officers explain the offense, follow a procedure, and issue a ticket.

There are racial disparities in police stops—blacks are stopped twice as often as whites—but they aren’t related to traffic safety offenses, in which cops exercise a little less discretion and violations are equal within groups. Where we see a difference—even after we adjust for driving time (on average, blacks drive more and longer than whites)—is in investigatory stops. In these, drivers are stopped for exceedingly minor violations—driving too slowly, malfunctioning lights, failure to signal—which are used as pretext for investigations of the driver and the vehicle. Sanctioned by courts and institutionalized in most police departments, investigatory stops are aimed at “suspicious” drivers and meant to stop crime, not traffic offenses. And as the authors note, “virtually all of the wide racial disparity in the likelihood of being stopped is concentrated in one category of stops: discretionary stops for minor violations of the law.”

Here’s how one black man described his experience:

I was driving a ’79 Cadillac Seville, white, that I was fixing up. You know, I’d been working on restoring it, you know, it was looking pretty good. I had really taken it down to test it out. So he pulled me over and he said, you know, regular procedure “driver’s license and registration” and whatever. And he said that I was going 67 in a 65 mile-per-hour zone, or something like a couple miles over the speed limit, that is the reason why stopped me. And I said, “Well, my speedometer said 65.” He said, “Well, because you got bigger tires and stuff like that on the car, the car is traveling a lot … it travels a lot faster.” I think he said then that whatever the speedometer is saying, you are going faster. And he stopped me for that and while he stopped me he was talking to me and he looked in there and I had a cell phone, I had a car phone sitting in there. And then he said, “Do you have any kind of drugs or guns in the car?” And I said, “No.” He said, “Do you mind if I search the car?” and I told him, “No, I don’t mind.” …
So he told me to go on the front of the car and put your hands on the front of the car … [H]e looked around and everything, and when he got through he came back and he didn’t find anything, and he came back and said, “The reason why we checked your car is we’ve been having problems with people trafficking drugs up and down the highway.” So that was that.

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