Revolution #215, October 21, 2010


If the police have... sweated you at school, dogged you in the streets, hit on you or otherwise sexually harassed you, or ... if the police have racially profiled, "stopped and frisked," threatened, tasered or brutalized you or any member of your family, …if the police have killed friends or family.

Write us!!! Tell your story.
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Views of those who contribute to "Bear Witness" are their own and they are not responsible for views expressed elsewhere in this newspaper.

The following was submitted to Bear Witness...

Story #3

I was late for school. So I wrapped up my breakfast in a paper towel and ran out of my house. I was running and I put the sandwich in my pocket. A police officer saw me put the sandwich in my pocket so he stopped me and made me take it out and I had to unwrap it. He saw that it was just a croissant but he said I could have put something inside it so I had to open it up and hollow it out. He kept saying I might have drugs. But, then he took a bite of my sandwich and let me go. It was stupid and ridiculous, but what could I do? They stop a lot of people.

16-year-old student at A. Philip Randolph High School


Story #4

I was on my way home from school and the police told me to stop. They asked me to take out the stuff in my pocket. So I asked them why and then they told me to get against the wall. The patted me down and took stuff out of my pocket and threw it on top of their car. Then they told me to get my stuff and leave. "Go home!" No questions. I didn't feel too great after that. I felt like I had just been robbed.

14-year-old student in Saint Nicholas Park


Story #5

My brother got arrested for trespassing. He was standing in front of this building and this white cop told my brother and his friends to step forward. The cops went through their pockets and they didn't find nothing so they charged my brother with trespassing. I think they did it because he's Latin.

13-year old in Saint Nicholas Park


Story #6

The police shot my cousin. They said he had a gun but it was his inhaler because he has asthma. He died two years ago. We been trying to fight the case but they say the cop has no fault in it. He was just using force because that's what good cops are supposed to do- whatever. We've been trying to fight it… we can't… we don't find a way out. I don't know. I don't know what to do.

A high school student in Saint Nicholas Park


Story #7 – West 6th Street

I have personally witnessed and been a victim of the discriminate and disparate treatment of African Americans and other minorities by the police as well as the bar owners and staff of West 6th Street, a club area in Cleveland, Ohio. I am Black and the friends I hang out with a diverse group of friends that enjoy the night life offered by the Warehouse District. The group of friends that I was with the nights that I was discriminated against were white (2 men and 2 women). I receive the exact same treatment from different bars on West 6th, almost as if it's some unwritten rule shared by the owners and management of the West 6th bars, on several different occasions: What happens is my friends and I approach the door, (the men wearing the same types and fits of clothes), the bouncer (from the Liquid Club) proceeds to check our I.D., When they get to me, they say my clothes are too baggy and deny me entrance to the club. In all the situations my friends (white) are outraged and protest, while I just walk away, and they agree to let me in. On another night the same thing happens at the Barley House, this time by a police officer checking I.D. at the door, again my white friends protest and they let me in.

Also, I have noticed that the police presence has different protocol on days in which West 6th is predominantly white (usually Fridays) and days in which minority-sponsored club events are going on, and/or days when West 6th has an influx of African American partygoers (usually Saturday night). The police presence is apparent both nights but on the nights of minority-sponsored club events, the police are aggressive and rude, they yell obscenities at you if you're not driving fast enough out of the parking lot. They block off the end of the street to incoming traffic (supposedly to ensure the safety of the crowd) but what they are really doing is corralling us in like cattle, poking and prodding to elicit some kind of response they can use to make an arrest. Behavior they would not dare use on the nights the street is majority white. Something needs to be done about this evil antiquated behavior and mentality.

A 39-year-old Black man and student at Cleveland State University


Story #8 – A bear witness statement

Me and my friend just finished work and stopped at a restaurant in the Flats. I came out the restaurant to get inside my car and eat my burger and my drink. Then 4 white guys walked up to my car with guns out, telling me to get out. I thought they were going to rob me because they had guns drawn. They told me to get out and put my hands on the car. They shook me down. I had nothing on me. Then they handcuffed me and put me in the back seat of their car, took me downtown, going underneath the Justice Center to the garage. And one cop asked me if I ever had my arm broken. I said, "No." He said, "It is very dark and no one will hear you when you scream." Then we get in the elevator and one cop punched me in the face and told me, "You are going to say you tried to steal [my] car." "No I'm not," I said. I was booked and in jail for about 2 weeks. I went to court and the judge asked me if the detectives were in the court, I said, "No." The charges were grand theft of my car and they didn't show up because they didn't want to go before the judge. The judge said, "You are not the only Black guy that came here to be charged with stealing his own car." I can't understand how they are going to charge me with theft when I had my title and keys. They never asked me for them. But he hit me in the face and said he would make me say I stole my own car. Sittin' in my car eatin my sandwich. They stopped me cause I am Black. This happened a few years ago. This is something I will never forget, like if a person robbed you, something you will never forget.

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