Still thinking that we in America do not live in a police state? Try parsing this: an interracial couple who have actively opposed the New York City Police Department’s racist “stop and frisk” program – which resulted in the public stopping and frisking of nearly 700,000 people – overwhelmingly black and Latino youth – in 2011 alone – and who have been videotaping every police stop-and-frisk they happen across have been targeted by the racist NYPD, on the basis of what the cops call this couple’s status as “professional agitators”! [Source: Dnainfo.com:” Harlem Couple Branded ‘Professional Agitators’ in NYPD ‘Wanted’ Poster, by Ben Fractenberg and Jeff Mays “]
Christina Gonzalez and Matthew Swaye, activists in the “Stop Stop and Frisk” campaign, who are actively documenting these racist police stops and then posting the videos on their YouTube site have become the targets of the NYPD for asserting their constitutional rights and for defending the constitutional rights of all working people in NYC. They recently found out that the cops in their neighborhood district (which they call the “Dirty 30″th) have ominously issued what is for all intents and purposes, a “Wanted: Dead or Alive” poster featuring Christina and Matthew!
The poster reads at the top: “30th Pct [sic] Professional Agitators” and then, under booking photos of both Gonzalez and Swaye, in an incomparably beautiful confirmation of just what kind of education is required to be a New York City police sergeant we get this prose; “BE AWARE THAT SUBJECTS ARE KNOWN PROFESSIONAL AGITATORS THAT LIVE AT [number and street address of their apartment! – IWPCHI]. ABOVE SUBJECTS MO IS THAT THEY VIDEO TAPE [sic] OFFICERS PERFORMING ROUTINE STOPS AND POST ON YOUTUBE. SUBJECTS [sic] PURPOSE IS TO PORTRAY OFFICERS IN A NEGATIVE WAY AND TOO [sic] DETER OFFICERS FROM CONDUCTING THERE [sic] RESPONSIBILITES [sic]. ABOVE SUBJECTS ALSO DETER OFFICERS FROM BEING SAFE AND TACTICAL BY CAUSING UNNECESSARY DISTRACTION. DO NOT FEED INTO ABOVE SUBJECTS [sic] PROPAGANDA.” This hopefully career-destroying missive is signed: “SGT. NICHOLSON 30 PCT [indecipherable] CELL [the Sergeant’s cell phone number]”!
These young activists have a quite interesting YouTube site in which they document the police harassing people all over the city for no apparent reason. They also have a video which shows that right after they exposed the existence of the cops’ wanted poster via YouTube, the police retaliated by sending out three squad cars on a phony “911” call to the young activists’ apartment building, and then filmed the activists as they documented the police harassment.
Many people posting comments to Gonzalez and Swaye’s YouTube site – including some who may be members of the NYPD – have warned them that they had “better watch out” because the cops can have them framed and imprisoned – or worse – any time they want. Undaunted, these brave young workers and their friends continue to go after the racist cops, recently attempting to personally present the “Bull Connor Award” to NYPD Commandant Raymond Kelly for “keeping New York City safe for white people”! [“Raymond Kelly Wins Bull Connor Award” on youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfedV0yhRFU&feature=plcp]
The Independent Workers Party says: “NYPD Hands Off Christina Gonzalez and Matthew Swaye! We demand that all ‘Stop and Frisk’ programs in the US Cease Immediately!”
The NYPD’s racist “Stop and Frisk” program, which has been criticized worldwide – and instituted in every major US city by both Republican and mostly Democratic mayors – involves the combination of the idiotic “zero tolerance” and “prevention of crime” philosophies that seem to have been taken right out of the Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report”. The concept arose during the 1978-1989 mayoral reign of right-wing pig Edward Koch and his police commandant Benjamin Ward, who was the very first black NYPD Commissioner. Ward made a very interesting statement which goes right to the heart of the argument that the way to end racist police violence is to hire more black cops on the premise that they would be more sensitive to racial issues due to the color of their skin: “Many people make the mistake of thinking that black people are liberal because they are black. I’m very, very liberal when it comes to race relations, but when it comes to law enforcement, I am very, very conservative”. [Source: New York Times, “Benjamin Ward, Former New York City Police Commissioner, 75, Dies” by Douglas Martin, June 11, 2002]
It was Ward who initiated the “quality of life” campaign that involved sending out cops to bust people for very minor crimes. The “philosophy” behind this campaign was first proposed by James Q. Wilson, the “Shattuck Professor of Government” at Harvard University from 1961 to 1987 and later a member of the right-wing think tank the American Enterprise Institute. His philosophy of crimefighting techniques was developed in his book “Thinking About Crime”, published in 1975, in which he asserted that the way to reduce crime was to increase prison sentences, thereby “keeping criminals off the streets”. Later, more famously, in a controversial article he co-wrote in 1982 for the “Atlantic Monthly” entitled “Broken Windows” he expanded on this idea. In this article – citing absolutely no research sources to buttress their grandiose claims – Wilson and his co-author, George L. Kelling wrote: “[A]t the community level, disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence. Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is left broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken. This is as true in nice neighborhoods as in rundown ones. Window-breaking does not necessarily occur on a large scale because some areas are inhabited by determined window-breakers whereas others are populated by window-lovers; rather, one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares, and so breaking more windows costs nothing. (It has always been fun.)” [Source: The Atlantic Monthly: ” Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety “, by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson, March, 1982]
The article gives a precise description of the type of “Quality of Life” policing that was to become the rallying cry for both Republican and Democratic “law and order” politicians from the Reagan era to this day:
“One of us (Kelling) spent many hours walking with Newark foot-patrol officers to see how they defined “order” and what they did to maintain it…
“The people on the street were primarily black; the officer who walked the street was white. The people were made up of ‘regulars’ and ‘strangers.’ Regulars included both ‘decent folk’ and some drunks and derelicts who were always there but who ‘knew their place.’ Strangers were, well, strangers, and viewed suspiciously, sometimes apprehensively. The officer—call him Kelly—knew who the regulars were, and they knew him. As he saw his job, he was to keep an eye on strangers, and make certain that the disreputable regulars observed some informal but widely understood rules. Drunks and addicts could sit on the stoops, but could not lie down. People could drink on side streets, but not at the main intersection. Bottles had to be in paper bags. Talking to, bothering, or begging from people waiting at the bus stop was strictly forbidden. If a dispute erupted between a businessman and a customer, the businessman was assumed to be right, especially if the customer was a stranger. If a stranger loitered, Kelly would ask him if he had any means of support and what his business was; if he gave unsatisfactory answers, he was sent on his way. Persons who broke the informal rules, especially those who bothered people waiting at bus stops, were arrested for vagrancy. Noisy teenagers were told to keep quiet… Sometimes what Kelly did could be described as ‘enforcing the law,’ but just as often it involved taking informal or extralegal steps to help protect what the neighborhood had decided was the appropriate level of public order. Some of the things he did probably would not withstand a legal challenge.”
Sound familiar? This is precisely the type of aggressive “community policing” that has filled the nation’s jails and prisons with MILLIONS of people – mostly people of color – arrested for minor drug and criminal offenses. The black top cop Ward initiated this scheme; the widely hated regime of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani later expanded upon it and codified it. Borne of the “mind” of a fictional racist cop who, his inventors say, admits that he often “has to” trample on the Constitution in order to “effectively” do his job, this fake sociopolitical philosophy has nothing scientific behind it at all. It is based on anecdotal evidence synthesized from the core beliefs of fundamentally racist “law and order” dinosaur cops who were supposed to have disappeared from the ranks of the police departments of the US long ago. It is nothing but old-school racist police work given a “scholarly” coat of whitewash and passed off as “scientific” research into the basis of criminality in society – a basis that had to be found to exist outside of the realm of the obvious culpability of the capitalist system itself, which creates poverty and crime faster than even the most vicious racist cop could ever beat it down.
In today’s New York City – and throughout the racist nightmare that exists in the ghetto areas of every US city – the rise in police “stop and frisk” operations has reached a point at which millions of intelligent young people of color have had enough – and have stood up to defend their rights. In a country where unemployment among black teens living in the cities is upwards of 70% and there is widespread poverty and crime as a result, the capitalist rulers deny that it is their system to blame for these conditions. They even deny that there is any relationship between crime and poverty at all in an attempt to defend their indefensible capitalist economic system!
In recent years, cops all over the country have trumpeted their supposed “proof” that crime is not related to capitalism-caused poverty: the crime statistics being kept by the cops which show that crime has actually DECREASED as unemployment and poverty have INCREASED. But in the past couple of years it has been shown that the alleged decline in crimes reported to the police have a much different cause: the cops are refusing to fill out any paperwork at all for many crimes being reported to them, and are classifying serious crimes downward, artificially making it appear as if their “quality of life” policing is effective at reducing crime!
In 2010, The NY Daily News ran articles based on the reports of NYC cop Adrian Schoolcraft, who reported that in the 81st Precinct where he worked, cops had been told to downgrade crime reports in order to “improve” the precinct’s crime rate! Schoolcraft’s exposure of the 81st’s practice of “record[ing] felonies as misdemeanors and refused to take complaints from victims – all in an effort to drive down the crime rate” led to investigations of the 81st and other police districts in New York City, which amply confirmed his claims.
Some of the incidents described by Schoolcraft included a case where an elderly man’s home was burglarized and a huge hole punched through his door – a crime which the 81st precinct cops reported had “no evidence” to back up his claims; and a man who was “beaten bloody and robbed” whose case was classified as a “lost property” case! [Source: NY Daily News, “Brooklyn’s 81st Precinct probed by NYPD for fudging stats” by Rocco Parascandola, February 1, 2010; New York Times: “Retired Officers Raise Questions on Crime Data” by William K. Rashbaum, February 6, 2010; and “Former Commander Recalls Pressure to Alter Reports” by Al Baker, February 7, 2010.]
Later investigations around the US found the same fraudulent manipulation of crime statistics were happening in police departments in many major cities. The phony politicians citing phony statistics to make their phony policies look good. Mostly, it’s the Democrats who run these big-city police departments and who build their political careers – their resumes – on a bed of lies. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while the police chief was claiming that, over a four-year period crime had declined by 21% overall, the local district attorney’s office had seen a decline in felony prosecutions of only 2.6 per cent. It was found out that the cops had been faking their data for years. [Source: Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Journal Sentinel: “Hundreds of Assault Cases Misreported by Milwaukee Police Department” by Ben Poston, May 22, 2012]
The pro-capitalist press tries to pass off these cases of police lying about crime statistics as “isolated incidents”. But they have been documented all over the US in practically every big-city police department. Yet, who cares? The politicians got elected and re-elected based on these phony stats, and the police chiefs went on to higher paying jobs in the private sector based on their “outstanding work” – falsifying crime statistics. As they move up their respective career ladders they cause more and more damage to the constitutional rights of citizens, defending their “stop and frisk” programs based on the phony stats, and justifying throwing more and more people into prison based on the phony stats showing phony reductions in crime as the prison population – which is not phony at all – spirals skyward. Lives are ruined in the millions, but the Democrats and Republicans don’t care: they’re all getting paid.
Had enough of phony government? Join the Independent Workers Party and fight for a workers government!