Revolution #176, September 13, 2009
What You Told Us:
“Police officers think they have the authority to do whatever they want”
The Stolen Lives Project documented 2,000 people killed by police in the ’90s, and police continue to kill people. We are all Sean Bell—killed by police in New York City. We are all Oscar Grant—killed by police in Oakland, CA. And then there is the everyday way police come down on youth all the time. The following are excerpts from interviews done by Revolution.
Bryan: “One time I was in Burger King with a bunch of friends, and we were waiting for some people. So we’re sitting there, and there’s people making noise on the other side. [The manager] decides to call the cops, right? So we’re like ‘Alright, we might as well wait till the cops get here and just be out.’ So everybody’s leaving, and just as I’m about to leave, the cops stop me. They’re checking me and everything. I’m like ‘Why did you stop me?’ They was like ‘Oh, you look suspicious.’ I’m like ‘How am I looking suspicious?’ ’Cause the way I dress when I’m outside, I don’t dress like some thug dude. I dress just like an Oldie pretty boy… I was like ‘You know what? Check me. Check me. Just so y’all can see if I got something on me.’ They check me, and realize that I have nothing. So they’re looking at me all angry and everything ’cause I didn’t have anything.”
Princess, 15: “I was watching on the news, this man was standing, and then these two cops just came and started harassing him and punching him in his face, and the man didn’t even try to fight back. They were trying to arrest him for doing nothing. I could see police officers think they have the authority to do whatever they want to other people, just because they’re police officers. That’s not right….”
Anthony: “For me, it’s always the same cops that stop me, proving that it’s always the same cops that’s watching me. And they always stop me using the same excuses, same things. Proving they’re either watching me, or they’re trying to make sure that the one fault that you do—whether it’s jaywalking across the street or throwing a bottle towards the garbage can and not picking it up—they’re going to try and stop you, try to catch you in that one flaw.”
X: “One time I was standing in front of my building, and they came up—it was a DT car, and they thought I was a drug dealer... I’m just a kid, so how would you think—and the real ones was right across the street from me. Like, they knew who they were, but they just came up to me. I’m like ‘Wow.’ If my mother wasn’t there—she was getting in the car—I probably would have been in jail or something for something I didn’t do. And then the other time, they threw me on the car ’cause they thought I was somebody else. The description clearly said the opposite of what I had on, but they claimed that I went upstairs and changed my clothes. So I was like ‘Whatever.’”
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