Lupica And New Dread Scott: Black Men Have No Rights Officers Are Obliged To Respect

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Hamster's brain? We take Holder over Lupica any day

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Historically, in this country, many have seen the police in a favorable light. But in the Black community the police are seen very different: as an occupying force sent there to criminalize, brutalize, and even kill Black folks.

This thinking has, usually, been viewed with derision by Whites who either have no idea of the dissimilar policing methods being utilized in the Black community—or, those who just don’t give a damn how Blacks are being treated.

This is still, largely, the case—although, some Whites are speaking out after witnessing those who were victimized during Occupy Wall Street in acts of thuggery perpetrated by NYPD officers. The fact is many White New Yorkers seem to have no concern whatsoever about the routine Fourth Amendment violations and racist targeting of African-Americans by the NYPD.

Does Dread Scott still rule?

A case in point is the column written last Friday by sports reporter Mike Lupica. In his column, Mr. Lupica rants against Attorney General Eric Holder who seems to be in favor of instituting an independent inspector to oversee the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk policy. According to Lupica, “anybody with an IQ of about a hamster’s” should see Stop-and-Frisk as a deterrent. With all due respect, Mr. Lupica should stick to sports because his analysis is not in the least convincing or insightful—except for the fact that his attitude is an example of how many Whites dismiss the legitimate concerns of African-Americans and Latinos.

In his column, Mr. Lupica parrots the “crime is down” and “these actions protects minorities” rationale we often hear from those apologists of police bigotry and brutality. But what is most instructive of his piece is what Mr. Lupica doesn’t say. At no point does he lament about the legions of African-Americans who have their Fourth Amendment rights violated consistently in contravention of the Constitution.

Worse of all, while he claims Stop-and-Frisk is a deterrent he furnishes no evidence to back-up that claim.  The fact is Black and Latinos are being stopped nearly 90 percent of the time—even though Whites are found with drugs and drugs more often. However, it should be pointed out that drugs and guns are only being discovered at a miniscule rate.

The lesson here is: people like Mr. Lupica feel safe with the mass arrests of African-Americans and Latinos. Consciously, and subconsciously, they’ve been programmed to think our people are more criminally inclined that White people.

Ironically, this was the attitude pervasive among White folk during the apartheid regime in South Africa: where in addition to warehousing Africans in Bantustans those in urban areas were Stopped-and-Frisked randomly by police or arrested if they weren't carrying their "passes." Is that what some people want for Black New Yorkers?

The real tragedy is while they believe this they never seem to give any thought to the primary reason for crime in the urban minority community: epidemic poverty and debilitating disenfranchisement. These are the things that need to be serious tackled and articulated.

Instead, in addition to clueless columns like Lupica's, we have a stupid bill sponsored by Republican State Senator Joseph Griffo. The New York State Senate passed the bill that would make it a felony to “harass” or “annoy” a police officer.

Why aren’t these senators passing bills to address the problem of police officers who use their badges to abuse those they’re supposed to be protecting and serving?

The Bill S2402, would “amend the penal law, in relation to aggravated harassment of peace officers or police officers” and “establish the crime of aggravated harassment of a police officer or peace officer and make such crime a class E felony” punishable by up to four years in prison. The bill must pass the Albany State Assembly to become law—where it has been struck down three times before.

According to Senator Griffo, the law is a remedial measure to protect police. “Too many people in our society have lost the respect they need to have for a police officer” said Senator Griffo. “We need to make it very clear that when a police officer is performing his duty, every citizen needs to comply and that refusal to comply carries a penalty.” Mr. Griffo also said “Our system of laws is established to protect the foundations of our society. Police officers who risk their lives every day in our cities and on our highways deserve every possible protection, and those who treat them with disrespect, harass them and create situations that can lead to injuries deserve to pay a price for their actions.”

The bill is receiving praise from law enforcement officials. “Professionally, I am grateful to see this bill pass through the Senate,” said Utica Police Department Chief Mark Williams, who was quoted in the House Majority Press. “Our police officers have a very dangerous job and need the support of our government leaders to help make them safe.”

But some people are worried about the broad language used in the bill. It states, in part, “A person is guilty of aggravated harassment of a police officer or peace officer when, with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm a person whom she or he knows or reasonably should know to be a police officer or peace officer engaged in the course of performing his or her official duties, he or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such person to physical contact.” And, although, “physical contact” seems to be necessary for this violation to occur, the use of words like “harass” and “annoy” has raised red flags.

“I had to see for myself,” said Richard Mack—a former Arizona sheriff. “Is the state of New York really trying to pass a law that would make you a felon if you annoy a cop? New York, what in the hell are you thinking?”

One should indeed wonder what’s going on here. It has been pointed out that this bill has been defeated three times before in the Albany Assembly. However, that should not make us complacent in analyzing the real intent behind this type of initiative. Are some trying to hasten a normalization of a police state sort of mindset between the police and public—where, people protesting or otherwise expressing their First Amendment Rights are discouraged from doing so?

Senator Griffo says “Too many people in our society have lost the respect they need to have for a police officer.” Assuming this statement is true doesn’t the senator wonder why that would be? During the Occupy Wall Street actions in New York City we witnessed out-of-control NYPD officers—especially in some documented cases high-ranking officers—pepper-spraying, attacking and brutally beating protesters.

Did some of these protesters engage in unlawful conduct? Possibly, especially given the fact there is evidence agent provocateurs were employed to create an excuse for the police to pounce on people. But the reality is in many cases peaceful protesters and marchers were subjected to the brutality of bullies wearing Blue. Any notion that police are victims of regular attacks—either physically or vocally—is utter nonsense. Moreover, if cops want the people to respect them shouldn’t they respect the rights of the people and not misuse the power of the badge?

Unfortunately, politicians like Senator Griffo refuse to address those police who know they can, often, escape consequences for egregious actions they perpetrate because of things like the Blue Wall of silence—which protects their criminality, especially, if the victims are people of color. Isn’t it about time politicians institute a no-tolerance policy against police who abuse their power, instead of writing idiotic legislation? Doesn’t protecting goons on the police force undermine any credible concept of “law and order?”



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