City of Los Angeles made a big announcement that the biggest gang
in the city, “the Code Blue” gang on the city payroll, the Los Angeles
Police Department is being paroled from its eight year federal consent
decree oversight. At least, partially anyway.
that means LAPD is still on probation with the feds since all aspects
of the decree was not abolished. It just means the more egregious
aspects of the widespread police corruption, that was exposed in
the Rampart Scandal a decade ago, have been mitigated. Their more
delicate, and less obvious, forms of abuse are still in evidence,
though Chief Bratton, the Police Commission and the city brass chooses
to ignore them. Especially racial profiling. Bratton, in particular,
chose to front off the ACLU at his press conference just because
they said the decree shouldn’t be lifted. Bratton’s act was the
equivalent to flipping off the prison guards as soon as you walk
out the prison gates. The decree may have been lifted, but racial
profiling ain’t hardly over.
It was very interesting that in the same news cycle that LAPD was announcing
that the jailbird had been freed, there was another story reporting
that famed Harvard Professor, Louis “Skip” Gates, had been arrested
for “disorderly conduct” after police responded to a breaking and
entering call. Now this is when you say, “America is funnier than
a motherf*@!#r.” Will deny something on one hand while it’s plainly
“in your face” on the other.
the hell does not know who Skip Gates is, particularly on the Harvard
campus in Cambridge? He makes two documentaries a year, has one
of the most prestigious teaching positions in the nation and speaks
all over the world. He’s been at Harvard for over 20 years. At least
his hometown folk and campus colleagues should know who he is? Yet,
when he returned from a trip to China and his front door jammed
when he tried to open it, the police received a report from a Harvard
employee that two black men (Skip and his driver) was trying to
break in a house.
Skip Gates is five feet four inch tall, 140 pounds soaking wet, 60 years
old and walks with a limp (and a cane). Plus he makes “a grip” of
money. Not exactly the “profile” of your everyday burglar. Common
sense would tell you that he must live there. By the way, breaking
into your own house is not against the law. But to the woman that
reported it, and to the simple-minded “Homer” that showed up, he
was a different kind of profile - just “a black man” doing what
they think black men do - steal, rob, rape, lie and kill.
Gates, no matter how many times he appears on PBS (which is damn near
more than Oprah comes on regular television), was being put through
the paces for being just another black man caught up in a place
white folk thought he had no place being. And it pissed him off!!
It would piss me off too. So when the officer asked to step out
his house and asked him for his ID, I can imagine how that conversation
went. Skip Gates got arrested for talking down to a white person
(after the white person talked down to him). We call it, “Standing
up for our rights.” They call it disorderly conduct and resisting
arrest. Now that they found out who he is, they want to drop the
charges - but the indignation from the whole experience has occurred.
They picked the wrong one this time. There’s no, “Sorry, we stopped the
wrong Nig…” in racial profiling because there’s no such thing as
the wrong Nig. For their purpose, it could be any Nig. Just stop
one and find something. The glaring irony of the whole situation
is that, NO black man in America is above it. Back to L.A….
Chief Bratton and the rest of the blue crew don’t get is that putting
black men through the paces, for indignation sake, creates a whole
‘nother level of hostility that leads to the use of deadly force
and other abuses that the department has been known for. So, don’t
just dismiss that racial profiling exists. We know it does, and
we know you’ll never admit it. But that’s okay - because it happens
everyday, somewhere in America. Be it in the streets, highways and
alleys of Los Angeles, California, or in the privileged university
spaces of Harvard surrounded by the mansions of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Somewhere in America, a brotha is being unnecessarily put through
the paces, for no other reason than supremacist arrogance and entrenched
LAPD may be off parole as it relates to the federal consent decree, but
they’re not off probation. Racial profiling is a primary indicator
as to whether LAPD has really changed.
And the world is watching…
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, is a national columnist, managing
director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website
is AnthonySamad.com. Click here
to contact Dr. Samad.