When Police Officers Plant Drugs On Blacks and Latinos
The officers who patrol the Black and Latino neighborhoods must reflect these communities ethnic population at all cost. Otherwise, they will continually be victimized.
[Speaking Truth To Power]
Who Are Real Criminals in the "hood"?
The unfolding scandal, in New Jersey, of officers from the Camden Police Department planting drugs on innocent residents, represents another â€œclear and
present dangerâ€ situation for Americaâ€™s Black communities.
What's to say this tactic isn't employed by the New York Police Department (NYPD), especially, in light of the recent revelation through secret tape recordings that officers were concocting favorable statistics in 81 and 41 precincts?
A couple of months ago, Camden Police officers Kevin Parry and Jason StetserÂ pleaded guilty to charges related to the planting of drugs on area residents.
Officer Parry, reportedly, admitted to a federal judge that he, along with Officers Robert Bayard, Antonio Figueroa and Stetser planted drugs on innocent individuals. One of those framed was Joel Barnes.
On August 2, 2008, Mr. Barnes was at the home of a friend, when Officers Parry, Bayard and Figueroa, allegedly, illegally intruded into the house without a
search warrant. Barnes was detained in a police van for more than an hour,Â before he was arrested. The violators demanded information Barnes said he
didnâ€™t have. Barnes later said Officer Figueroa repeatedly asked him â€œWhereâ€™s the shit [drugs] at?â€ He was, eventually, arrested for unlawful possession of a
controlled substance; supplied and planted by the officers.
In a statement, Barnes said â€œI felt helpless and didnâ€™t know what to do. I knew I hadnâ€™t done anything wrong, but I also knew that the officers had all the power and I had none. Itâ€™s disturbing that the police officers who are supposed to protect the community were the ones breaking the law, misusing their power and abusing so many innocent people.â€ Barnes, initially, pleaded not guilty. However, fearing he would be convicted on the officersâ€™ testimony, he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful drug possession within 1,000 feet of a school zone.
After being jailed for over a year, Barnes was recently cleared of any wrongdoing and released. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of New Jersey have filed a lawsuit on his behalf. Edward Barocas, Legal Director of the ACLU of New Jersey said, â€œPlanting evidence on innocent people in order to send them to prison is one of the most serious forms of police misconduct, and police who engage in such behavior must be held accountable.â€ â€œMr. Barnes deserves to be compensated for the year of his life now lost forever and for the trauma he suffered at the hands of these corrupt officers,â€ he added.
Ironically, this shocking case of police misconduct is largely being downplayedâ€”like the recent revelations that NYPD brass, in the 81 and 41 precincts, were mandating officers secure a certain amount of tickets and arrests. Thanks to the courage of Officer Adrian Schoolcraft and Officer Adil Polanco, we now have proof. Why is â€œmainstream mediaâ€ so silent on these egregious police scandals?
When one examines who the targets of these tickets and unlawful arrests areâ€”same as those besieged by the Camden copsâ€”the silence then makes perfect sense. The "profiled" are those living in Black or Latino skin. It's bad enough cops brutalize and even sodomize Black and Latino victims --with a plunger, a stick and police batonsâ€”and fire at will at them, as was the case when two victims unjustly die in a hail of 41 and 50 shots.
Now, police are framing the victims to bolster arrest records. The tapes recorded by Officers Schoolcraft and Polanco, in the 41 and 81 Precincts, respectively, illustrate that the NYPD does indeed have a quota system, contrary to the fables New Yorkers have been told. The 81 Precinct is in Brooklyn and the 41 Precinct is in the Bronx.
A few years ago, a white cop told me commandersâ€”in the East New York areaâ€”were pressuring rookies to issue bogus tickets. Recently, a young man from Queens,
whom I mentor, showed me a ticket he got for riding his bike on an empty sidewalk. This was done after the cops searched him, without cause, and found nothing. His story echoed one we learned when the Black Star Newsâ€™ was investigating the Sean Bell killing; a pastor said many of his parishners had being issued unjust tickets and summonses.
Police apologists always claim these are only â€œisolatedâ€ incidents perpetrated by a few â€œbad applesâ€ on the force. However, isnâ€™t the immoral behavior of these Camden cops a manifest outgrowth of the criminalization of our people by the forces of â€œlaw and orderâ€ across America? Question: who are the "deciders" implementing these
discriminatory police polices?
Here, the great psychologist Dr. Amos Wilsonâ€™s words are insightful. â€œIt is White America which defines criminality and writes the criminal justice codes," Dr. Wilson onced noted. "It writes these codes not in the interest of justice as defined by its own moral code, but in the interest of maintaining, justifying and enforcing its continued dominance of the African American community.â€
Our aim must be to expose the unseen hands that create crooked cops, like those in Camden New Jersey and in the NYPD. They offer Blacks and Latinos up as the grist for their criminal justice mill. The officers who patrol the Black and Latino neighborhoods must reflect these communities ethnic population at all cost. Otherwise, they will continually be victimized.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."
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