Showing posts with label Racial Profiling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Racial Profiling. Show all posts

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Delaware State University Women's Lacrosse Team Racially Profiled in Georgia

The problem with a great many police is that they simply do not believe that Black people have constitutional rights. 

Courts and juries too often support police in this belief and practice. 

Therefore police are quite comfortable subjecting Black people to apparent Fourth Amendment violations. 

Although a recent example of this took place in the deep South in a state with a long sordid history of official law enforcement hostility to Black Americans, the facts are that this kind of thing happens all over the United States. As courts won't reign in these violations, eventually Black citizens will need to do so.  

DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- Delaware State University announced Friday it will be taking legal action against the sheriff's department in Liberty County, Georgia, calling a search following a traffic stop last month involving the university's women's lacrosse team "constitutionally dubious."

Law enforcement bodycam footage from April 20 shows sheriff's deputies in Georgia board a bus carrying the Delaware State University women's lacrosse team. The sheriff's office says it pulled over the bus for riding in the left lane. That minor traffic infraction turned into a drug search.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Bridgewater New Jersey Racism

Justice is supposed to be blind. If the so-called justice system is not blind then it's of no use. 
This is a truism if you happen to be Black and especially if you happen to be a Black male. 
You will be treated more harshly than anyone else for the exact same violation.

It would be comforting to think that this bias only happened in the bad old days or in certain backwards Southern states but it still happens everywhere today. 
The different standard is so obvious that in the latest example even the white (or at least non-Black) person who benefitted from this bias recognized it and called it out.

A video of police officers breaking up a fight at a New Jersey mall has sparked anger over accusations that law enforcement treated the two teenagers involved in the scuffle — one Black and one white — differently. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Black Men Don't Belong Here!!!

I don't know if these sorts of incidents are actually happening more frequently or if we are just hearing about them more often but they give the lie to the bromides that (1) people don't notice race or (2) that Black American men get any sort of benefits from patriarchy. In both cases referenced in this post the unfounded fears or aggression of white women led them to confront and invoke the threat of state violence against Black men. 

Fortunately for the men involved they managed to avoid being shot or assaulted but it could have just as easily gone the other way. It is impossible for me to imagine social sanction for a Black woman claiming to be in fear of her life by the mere presence of a white man or seeking to bully him out of the public space if all he was doing was minding his own business. In both instances white women made automatic assumptions that blackness was not allowed in their surroundings and needed to be expelled. 

There are of course younger Black people who look back at the responses of Black Americans to state sponsored segregation and violence before 1970 or so and find them lacking. If these sorts of incidents continue to occur we'll find out who really is ready to stand up to the Beast, so to speak, and who was just flapping their gums. If you're Black in America, particularly a Black man, you have to be ready for this sort of thing. It can happen any time any where. We've seen a white woman in South Carolina assault Black boys at a pool, a white man in North Carolina demand to see a Black family's pool id, a white woman in Tennessee try to kick a Black family out of the pool, a white woman in Yale call the police on the fellow black student taking a nap, and too many more incidents to mention. Clearly most white do understand just whose side the police are likely to take. I do think that Trump's election has given permission to certain people to share their true feelings. 

(FOX 11) - A man told his story about an experience he described as racial profiling in a neighborhood where he was parked in his car. Ezekiel Phillips said if he weren’t black, a white woman would have never felt threatened by his presence. “You don’t have to call 911 on me. Talk to me. Ask me my name,” Phillips said.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Black Doctor Prevented From Entering Her Own Neighborhood

I've written before about how one of the most persistent elements of American anti-Black racism is the idea that some whites have that a given Black person doesn't belong in a certain space and can or must be challenged. Some racists can't believe that anyone Black can legitimately own or enjoy nice things. These challenges can range from anything from hard looks and slow service at an upscale restaurant to extra demands for id when writing a check or using a credit card, to mistaking a co-worker for a criminal or janitor all the way up to physical attacks by the police or others. This all goes back to slavery and formalized Jim Crow. During slavery Black mobility was severely limited and had to be literally signed off on by a white of sufficient authority to grant it. Blacks, free or otherwise, who were caught in "white" areas without some sort of pass could run into some serious trouble. This attitude has never really gone away. Most Black people can tell a story in which this racialized hostility is revealed either in a minor or major way. The other day it was a Black doctor's turn.

ATLANTA — A Black doctor is upset at a man who she says racially profiled her when he blocked her from entering the community that she has lived in for about eight years. A part of the nearly 30-minute exchange was captured on camera. A police report indicates that Nnenna Aguocha stated she was attempting to enter the Buckhead Townhome community after just coming off an overnight shift when another property owner stopped her at the gate entrance. She said he parked his car under the gate arm and refused to move forward to let her in, despite her repeated requests. "He got out of the car and threatened to call the police on me because I was trespassing," she said in the video recording taken at the scene. "This is racial profiling at its finest."

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Black Men Arrested At Starbucks Speak Out

You may have heard about the Black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks while they were waiting to have a business meeting with a possible partner. Charges were dropped. The white female manager who called the police within two minutes of the men's arrival allegedly did so because the men hadn't purchased anything and had asked (and been denied) a chance to use the bathroom. There have been other incidents at other Starbucks locations but this is emphatically not solely a Starbucks problem. This is a white racism problem or to be more precise as some of the people behaving in this manner towards Black people are not white, it's an anti-Black racism problem, particularly an anti-Black male attitude. Again, incidents like this are why I am so dismissive of anyone who argues that Black men are oppressive patriarchs. You can say a lot of things about patriarchs but they don't get arrested and perp-walked out of an establishment for the crime of annoying or scaring someone who isn't Black. 

We see again that the mere presence of Black masculinity in a public space badly scares some people and/or sets them off. Just as in Fort Worth, or in Rochester Hills, being Black in public causes some non-Blacks to either wet their pants in fear or feel that they must immediately show the n****s who is the boss. What sort of citizen are you if you can literally be arrested because someone thinks that you didn't order coffee fast enough? You're certainly not a first class citizen. The men speak about their experiences below:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Rochester Hills White Homeowner shoots at Black Teen for asking directions

I've written previously about how racial stereotypes and assumptions can be hurtful or irritating and harmful to your career or health. However, when the people who make snap judgments are armed and fearful, such assumptions can be dangerous to your life. We see white cops do this with black people on a regular basis. But police are not separate from their community, but a part of it. The ultimate problem is not with the police but with people in all job categories who see black skin and immediately assume the worst.

Police just happen to be the most likely to get away with acting on racist assumptions. Fourteen year old Rochester Hills, Michigan high school student Brennan Walker missed the bus to school. He had to walk. He didn't know the route as well as he thought he did. So he knocked on a door in the neighborhood to ask directions. Well the woman of the house thought that he was trying to break in. She screamed. And the man of the house grabbed his shotgun and shot at young Master Walker. Rochester Hills is about 25 miles north of Detroit and like many southeastern Michigan communities is filled with the kinds of people who aren't too happy about black people breathing the same air they do. Walker is lucky to be alive. I am trying to imagine asking for help and being shot at. That will leave an emotional scar on the young man. People saw him and for no other reason than his race and gender assumed he was a deadly threat at the tender age of fourteen. How will his parents explain that to him? Being Black means you will never get the benefit of the doubt. Period.

The walk to school turned terrifying for a Rochester teen who says he was shot at after he stopped to ask for directions. Fourteen-year-old Brennan Walker missed the bus and tried to walk to school, but got lost after he couldn't remember the route.The freshman wasn't hit, as the shot missed him as he ran away.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Philando Castile, Dallas, and Blowback

On July 6th, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, local police stopped a car driven by school cook Philando Castile. Castile was a black man. Also in the car was Castile's girlfriend Lavish Reynolds and Reynolds' four year old daughter. According to Reynolds the police demanded that Castile produce his license and registration. Although I'm not sure he was legally required to do so Castile allegedly informed the officers that he was a licensed gun permit holder and had his weapon with him.  An officer, allegedly Jeronimo Yanez, then shot Castile multiple times as Castile reached for his paperwork as directed. The police yell and and freak out as Castile slumps in his seat, dying. Reynolds was prescient and calm enough (with guns pointed at her and her daughter) to livestream the post-shooting events to Facebook. You can watch it here if you want to do so. The police ordered Reynolds out of the car. They handcuffed and detained her. Reynolds broke down later. To literally give the devil his due we don't see the events that occurred before the shooting. But we do know that Castile was legally entitled to have his gun. We don't know when and why the officers unholstered their guns. The lawyer for Yanez stated that the traffic stop was initiated because Castile resembled a robbery suspect because of his "wide nose". Reynolds stated that they were told they were stopped because of a malfunctioning tail light. But that doesn't really matter. Castile is just as dead. His crime? Being black and following instructions. Problematic doesn't even begin to describe this. Because Castile had no felony record the normal post death smears to his reputation won't be as easy to do. However the lowlifes who do things like that are even now poring over Castille's and Reynolds' social media accounts to find something to justify Castille's death. Some mental midgets were stating that Reynolds must have stolen her cigarettes. 

I would love to believe that if I just did A, B and C then I and people who look like me would be safe from police violence. But that's just not the case. You can have a pristine record, be entirely innocent, follow the officer's instructions (legal or not) to the letter and still wind up insulted, brutalized, humiliated or dead. Police initiate negative contact with black people, especially black men, at higher rates than they do with white people. If you are black the officer is more likely to search you or your vehicle, regardless of probable cause or reasonable suspicion. Anything other than instantaneous abject compliance can cause the officer to resort to deadly violence. And as Castile and Reynolds found out, even compliance isn't enough. 

These incidents would be bad enough if officers who broke the law or violated departmental regulations were punished when the evidence supports punishment. But generally speaking they aren't. A cop can be caught on video unlawfully beating or killing someone, but it's still a good bet that s/he won't be charged. It's a big deal if an officer even loses his job. Officers are rarely charged and even more rarely convicted of crimes against black citizens. Local district attorneys work with police and greatly value that relationship. The FBI isn't any better because it investigates itself and to my "great surprise" (LOL)  always finds shootings by FBI agents to be justified. Judges are often former district attorneys. Black people are underrepresented in jury pools. Segregated housing tracts and deformed voting registration patterns produce jury pools which are not only whiter on average than the country's population but also may lack first hand experience with police who are not the Officer Friendly stereotype. Officers can, as is their right, avoid jury trials. And if all that fails and against all odds a police officer somehow finds himself on trial he can pull out his ace card and say "I feared for my life." That pretty much trumps everything. Going to prison for murder or manslaughter is not a normal outcome for killer cops.

This is a problem. It's not just that police commit needless violence against black citizens. It's that too many people of all races have come to believe that the justice system won't or can't do anything about it. The reason we have a justice system is so people won't take the law into their own hands. But it appears that police are above justice. So what is the logical next step once you have the firm belief that the justice system can't be fixed or reformed? It's violence. It's what we saw in Dallas on July 7th when an Army Reserve Afghan war veteran, one Micah Xavier Johnson, allegedly murdered five white police officers. Supposedly his rationale for doing that was because, like many other black people he was upset about the cycle of black death at the hands of police. Johnson felt justified in reaching out and sharing this pain. People tend to get very upset when anyone points that out. People say violence is never the answer and so on. Well, let's be real.This country was founded on violent revolution. The Founding Fathers didn't engage in sit-ins, talk about loving and forgiving their enemies or claim that God would make everything ok at some unspecified future date. They started shooting the British. They continued shooting the British until the British decided that keeping the American colonies wasn't worth it. This country expanded via application of superior violence against the indigenous inhabitants. If you live in the US you live in a country that had one of the most successful genocidal conquests in history. Many of the very same people who are demanding we weep for the cops murdered in Dallas will turn around and claim that the elimination of Native Americans is nothing to be ashamed of. Stuff happens, you know. Slavery was only ended via violence. Our movies, books and other entertainment constantly lionize the hero who takes matters into his own hands defeats or kills his enemies. There is a fundamental strain in American politics and culture to dismiss people who can't or won't fight back. It's seen as weakness and viewed with contempt. Very few people in any position of power have any respect for the man who follows Jesus' advice during the Sermon on the Mount to "resist not evil." and "turn the other cheek." Maybe we'd all be better off if we did heed such words but the truth of the matter is that as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) pointed out a long time ago, "Violence is as American as cherry pie". If you won't stand up for yourself in this world no body else will. It's only when Black people turn to violence that the larger society's outrage over violence becomes palpable. We actually have someone suing the President and other black men for inciting racial hatred. Think about this for a moment. People on the right have called the President and his family monkeys and apes and subhuman and everything but a child of God. They have prayed for the President's death, depicted his death and threatened his life. They've claimed that he's not American. They've said nasty things about his mother. Many have it made it crystal clear via vile jokes and plain direct statements that they hate black people. Now some fellow travelers of these yahoos are suing the President for inciting racism. If this wasn't so serious you'd just have to laugh.

I could condemn people who kill innocent police officers and police officers who kill innocent civilians but too often many police in this country refuse to acknowledge that there even is such a thing as an innocent black civilian. There are just blacks they haven't gotten around to frisking or arresting yet. Some police shoot first and ask questions later. While politicians and police are falling over themselves to share their sympathies for the murdered police officers in Dallas, you will never see an outpouring of police support for murdered black citizens. The best you might get is a bland statement about process. Often you'll get callous indifference. At worst you see jokes, glee and even celebration. Politicians, district attorneys and media pundits will sneer that the murdered black citizen's family is only out for money. Some will claim that hey this dead black (wo)man was no angel. 
So if this country in 2016 is still unwilling to charge and convict police officers who kill black citizens then it should prepare itself for more Micah Johnsons. There's only so much that people can take before they finally realize that they aren't the only ones who can bleed. Everybody bleeds. If we want to stop more shooting of police officers then we need to stop police shooting of black civilians. We're at a crossroads in American society. We've tried retraining police, marching, praying, boycotting, begging, pleading etc to no avail. This is not about individual good or bad cops. This is about a systemic institutional framework that views black people, especially black men and boys, as threats to be monitored or eliminated. This is a problem which impacts all black people, regardless of class, wealth, status, sexuality, gender, political stance or other characteristics. Conservative South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, with whom I disagree probably 75% of the time has stories to tell of being racially profiled and harassed, even as an elected official. How do we fix all of this? I don't know. Black people were never supposed to be citizens in this country. But I do know that we can't have any more Tamir Rices or Aiyana Stanley-Jones. I have loved ones in New York and other cities with aggressive combative police. If something happened to them and a police officer walked free I would be hard pressed to sing kumbyah. I love my kin just as much as the family members of the slain officers in Dallas loved theirs.

This is not 1920s America. You'd be foolish to believe that. I don't live in the same world my great-grandparents inhabited. But there's still too much today that would be bitterly familiar to them in terms of police behavior and the larger society's refusal to hold police accountable. Typically, conservatives have sought to blame the messenger, though there are a few conservatives who recognize that there's a problem and have some ideas about what to do next. As NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick wrote, "This is what lynchings look like in 2016".  Either we rebuild the system to reduce the possibility of police violence and punish unlawful police violence as severely as we do that of other citizens or we all get guns and start shooting back. No one wins but black people won't be bleeding alone.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

NYPD Assaults James Blake

As you may have heard former tennis star James Blake was wrongly detained by the NYPD when he was mistaken for a suspect in an identity theft ring. That in and of itself is not a big issue. Police and witnesses make mistakes all the time. No the big problem was that rather than being questioned first and THEN detained or arrested by a uniformed or otherwise identifiable NYPD police officer (which could have cleared up any misunderstanding immediately) James Blake was rushed by undercover police officer James Frascatore, grabbed by the neck, assaulted and forced to the ground. The officer did not identify himself. I'm not aware of the exact particulars of self-defense laws in NYC but presumably if strange men assault you in public you do have the right to defend yourself. If Blake had tried to defend himself of course the officer would have shot him and felt piously justified in doing so. Plenty of people, some with good intentions, many more with bad ones, give advice to black men on how to avoid unnecessary confrontations with police. Some of that advice is worthwhile. Most of it is utterly worthless. Here we have Blake literally minding his own business in Gotham before being assaulted by a public servant (who apparently has a track record of violent and abusive policing). There is nothing that Blake should or could have done differently to minimize his chances of being attacked. He was a black man and that was sufficient. Of course it's not just race. It's also class. Can you imagine anyone accusing a Caucasian American business owner or lawyer or other perceived/actual paid up member of the 1% of a non-violent crime and having the police execute a violent takedown? Of course not. Heck, even Mafia bosses with platoons of killers on call don't get treated like James Blake was treated. To add insult to injury the person who police thought was the initial suspect wasn't involved in the alleged crime of identity theft. The NYPD commissioner issued a mush mouthed apology but the union is defending Officer Frascatore. Just another day in the US. It is surreal. Once again, I must admit that Cliven Bundy and his supporters weren't wrong about everything. If the people tasked to enforce the law routinely brutalize people under protection of the law, what recourse does a citizen have?

James Blake Statement:

Just before noon on Wednesday, September 9, 2015, while I was standing on a sidewalk outside my hotel in midtown Manhattan waiting for a car to take me to the U.S. Open, a plainclothes New York City Police officer tackled me to the ground, handcuffed me, paraded me down a crowded sidewalk, and detained me for ten minutes before he and his four colleagues realized they had the wrong man.

The officer, who was apparently investigating a case of credit card fraud, did not identify himself as a member of law enforcement, ask my name, read me my rights, or in any way afford me the dignity and respect due every person who walks the streets of this country. And while I continue to believe the vast majority of our police officers are dedicated public servants who conduct themselves appropriately, I know that what happened to me is not uncommon. 

When this incident was reported in the news media, Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton both called me to extend their personal apologies, and I greatly appreciate those gestures. But extending courtesy to a public figure mistreated by the police is not enough.As I told the Commissioner, I am determined to use my voice to turn this unfortunate incident into a catalyst for change in the relationship between the police and the public they serve. For that reason, I am calling upon the City of New York to make a significant financial commitment to improving that relationship, particularly in those neighborhoods where incidents of the type I experienced occur all too frequently. The Commissioner has agreed to meet with my representatives and me to discuss our ideas in that regard, and we very much look forward to that meeting.

Frascatore's History

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Landry Thompson Incident: Where are you going with that white girl?

I never had an official version of "the talk" which some black parents allegedly give to their children, especially their boys, somewhere around puberty about how white racist expectations can place them in danger and how they have to be careful. In part this was because (1) I think my parents believed such warnings to be self-defeating and self-limiting, (2) I grew up in an environment which was predominantly black, and (3) as both my parents and other relatives were active in social movements I picked up a lot by osmosis through the years, making a formal "talk" entirely unnecessary in any event. All the same I did get the idea, whether through comments by relatives or other people, that a black person needed to be especially aware of his surroundings and his companions. You have the right to travel anywhere in this country and with anyone whom you like. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is always a smart thing to do.  Because sometimes people can misinterpret such actions. And when such misinterpretations are based on race and people with the legal authority to detain, arrest or kill you get involved things can get dicey indeed.

We talked before about how a white parent or other adult with a black child can raise some concern among some people. I don't ever remember having any problems growing up traveling with white aunts, uncles or teachers but then again I didn't do that too often. Well just as a white adult with a black child in tow can make people question you the opposite is also true. A black adult travelling with a white child needs to be prepared for the occasional odd look, challenge or question. That's just the way it is. They probably aren't prepared to be arrested and accused of crimes but as no doubt some of my more cynical elders would say what did they expect.

A teenage Oklahoma hip hop dancer is still shaken after her dream trip to a Texas dance studio ended up with her in handcuffs and taken to Child Protective Services and her guardians in police custody.
"They had nothing on us," dance instructor Emmanuel Hurd told "Instead of going the route they should have went, they took her to CPS. The only reason someone gave me was we were black and Landry was white."Landry Thompson, 13, has been dancing since she was 7. For the past few years, she has dreamed of traveling to Houston to dance with well-known hip hop dancer Chachi Gonzales at Planet Funk Academy.
Over the weekend, Thompson's parents, instructor and dance partner made her dream come true. Landry flew to Houston from her Tulsa, Okla., home on Saturday and met up with Hurd, 29, and her dance partner Josiah Kelly, 22.
The three spent the day at the dance academy and taking part in a video shoot. After wrapping and dinner, the exhausted trio stopped at a gas station around 3 a.m. to program their GPS to find their hotel, according to Hurd. He dozed off and awoke to find their car surrounded by police. A police officer eventually took Landry's phone and spoke to her mother. "He got on the phone and he said, 'Are you aware your daughter is in Houston, Texas, with two black men?' And I said, 'Yes, I am aware of that,'" Destiny Thompson told "Then he started mumbling stuff about my parenting, why I would let her do that and then he proceeded to tell me the people she was with were intoxicated or on something." 
I certainly don't fault the police for inquiring as to why a underage girl is in a car with two men at 3 AM in the morning. What I do question is seemingly ignoring the notarized letter, detaining the men and putting the girl into Child Protective Services until everything was worked out to their satisfaction. I also question if race alone should have been enough to indicate arrest/detention. 
But to be fair I'm sure that police who do run across trafficking rings hear similar "explanations" all the time. Still if there has been no crime committed, and I don't think that falling asleep at a gas station is a crime is it, it's hard to see why they didn't let the trio continue on their way. 

All the same I would, for this reason and many others, avoid situations where I would be traveling with a child who's not mine, especially if the child is of a different race. As has been remarked elsewhere the men are lucky they weren't tased, beaten or shot. So all's well that ends well I guess.

What do you think?  Good necessary police work or something else?

What's the difference between arrest and detention?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Detroit Cops Get More Than They Bargained For

To the police I'm sayin f*** you punk 
Reading my rights and s***, it's all junk
Pulling out a silly club, so you stand

With a fake *****d badge and a gun in your hand
But take off the gun so you can see what's up 
And we'll go at it punk, I'ma f*** you up
"F*** The Police"
Too many times police act outside of their legal authority. Most of the time when they do this custom, law and simple self-preservation indicate that the person who is not a police officer submit and follow orders. If they can, they should remain calm, document the abuse while trying to survive it and attempt to finish the fight in court. After all most judges (I hope) are not going to tell you to shut the f*** up before they tase you or pull out a gun to shoot you because you supposedly made a furtive move. Police of course, have no problem doing just that. However this country was not created or built (theoretically) on citizens meekly submitting and following orders from agents of the state.  It was built on much the opposite in fact. And although discretion is often the better part of valor when dealing with armed aggressive people  who don't mind sending you to the hospital or graveyard there does indeed come a line in the sand where submission to invalid authority is destructive and deadly to a sense of citizenship, manhood, womanhood or to your life or bodily integrity. Or as one writer put it much better than I could speaking of a similar situation
Injustice of any kind depends upon fear, upon backing down. In other words, bullies and monsters count on never running into a warrior. But here's the point: when one generation stands up, more of the NEXT generation survives. Being a man, being a warrior, increases the risk for that man, but decreases the risk for future generations, can you grasp that? This has ALWAYS been true for warriors: if you stand up, you might get shot down. But if you don't stand up, the forces of evil will take and take and take until there is nothing left. And then they will grind you into the gutter, and **** on you. And then they will say: "look at that broke, broken, stinking thing in the gutter. That is his natural state. He must LIKE being like that. Tsk tsk.

Recently in Detroit two brothers were going into a Coney Island to get a bite to eat and well, just watch the entire video. Detroiters aren't going for any sort of stop and frisk. I don't like cops at all but I do know they are necessary. Again, if I am not breaking any law I want the agents of the state to leave me alone. Mind their own business. And I'll mind mine. I don't know the legal answers to the questions I ask. Hopefully The Janitor or Old Guru will chime in. But I'm interested in everyone's responses. Please chime in. Is probable cause now "Well he looked grim"? 
h/t Darrel Dawsey

Fox 2 News Headlines

Who was in the right or wrong?

Does/Should a police officer have rights to lay hands on you absent arrest?

Do/Should you have the right to refuse to provide identification?

Is this profiling? Was probable cause or reasonable suspicion met?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NYPD officers abuse teen-caught on audio

It is often instructive to look back at the history of white supremacy in this country and see how non-whites had to deal with openly racist whites who had no problem being violent. When we look at the pictures or video of peaceful civil rights protesters having dogs set on them or being beaten with tire irons or having things thrown at them it is hard, in 2012 not to at least occasionally question how people could allow that to happen or why didn't more people stand up and fight back or so on. Those are painful questions to be sure. At any given point in time most people are just trying to survive. By definition, most people are not heroes. Cemeteries are full of would be heroes. People did what they had to do to survive. There is no shame in that.

But although those days are thankfully gone, there are unfortunately quite a number of people who would have fit right in working for Bull Connor or Ross Barnett. Evidently many of these people are NYPD police officers. We've written before on the stop-and-frisk program that Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly have instituted that is primarily aimed at Black and Hispanic men, especially young men or boys. This program doesn't catch many people carrying either drugs or guns but it does put a lot of fear, anger and rage in many New York Black and Hispanic citizens. Unfortunately until very recently this has not received any attention in the mainstream press and what attention it has received has been cautiously positive or only mildly critical. Generally speaking the people that write or edit for the New York Times or the New Yorker or the Wall Street Journal or the American Enterprise Institute are not the people being stopped and frisked so they tend not to have the mad rush of killing rage I had when I saw the below video. This is a racial quota which doesn't seem to excite their delicate constitutional sensitivities.

One thing that it is really important to understand is that the stop-and-frisk program, which has been expanded to include public housing and some private rentals as well is NOT a program in which someone does something suspicious and only THEN receives police attention NOR it is a program in which Officer Friendly and Dudley DoRight stop you and politely ask you a few questions before apologizing and sending you on your way after some sports discussions.


It is as the video shows, a program in which young men of color are criminalized just for existing. It is a program in which showing signs of manhood and citizenship like demanding to know why you were stopped, asking for badge numbers, looking in someone's eyes or refusing to answer questions causes insane and profane racist rage, insults to your family, threats of arrests or beating, and occasional actual beating. This is the kind of stuff that was supposed to have gone out of style in 1960s Mississippi but as we can see it is thriving in 2012 NYC, under a supposedly enlightened Mayor, a relatively liberal Governor and a President that claims to understand civil liberties.

This is why come what may, with no offence intended to anyone who is a police officer, or is related to or married to a police officer, I really really don't like cops. Period. Never have and never will. Fortunately I have never had an experience to the extent of the young man in the video but I've had a few run-ins in my time. This is also why I do not like NYC and have little desire to visit, though I have friends and family there. Imagine if Alvin was your son, brother, cousin or husband. What does that sort of physical and verbal abuse from so-called authority figures do to racial relations? This is why it is ridiculous to claim, as some do, that affirmative action is harming racial relations. No, the NYPD is harming racial relations!  

The NYPD has a serious problem and it needs to be fixed yesterday. I simply do not get why Black and Hispanic New Yorkers have not gone after Bloomberg the same way they went after Giuliani. Malcolm X once joked that anywhere south of Canada is Mississippi and this video shows the truth of that joke. Honestly if I were in that situation I would definitely be in fear of my life and have to act accordingly. I'd rather be judged by a jury than those two beasts. Listen to full audio of Alvin's stop here, courtesy of The Nation.


1) Ever been in a similar situation with police?

2) How can we fix the police department?

3) Is the teen a hero?

4) Should the police officers be fired?

5) Where are the Feds?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Brooklyn False Rape Charges: Darrell Dula

Imagine that you (or a man you love) were wrongly accused of raping someone. You're arrested, fingerprinted and thrown into jail to await formal charges. Now in the 24 hours while you're familiarizing yourself with jailhouse protocol over telephone usage, how to avoid unwanted advances, which gang it would be proper for someone of your race and ethnicity to join, when not to look into another prisoner's eyes, the importance of responding promptly to guard commands and other important orientation action items, the victim admits to the police and prosecutors that she made it all up and actually signs a document stating so. 
Well that's lucky for you yes? You won't have to stay a minute more in jail and perhaps you can see about getting everything expunged from your record. No harm no foul. These things happen and maybe you and the arresting officers can have a beer summit at the White House some day.
But wait, now imagine that the prosecutor decides to go ahead with charges anyway because either they think the supposed victim is lying or because they don't like you very much or maybe they figure they need to keep their conviction rates high and you look like an easy win. And in addition they don't tell you or your attorney that the victim lied. And they keep you in jail for a year...
Such things couldn't happen in this country could they?

But sadly of course they do.
A Brooklyn man spent nearly a year behind bars on charges he raped an Orthodox Jewish woman — even though she recanted her accusation a day after making it.
Darrell Dula, 25, was released Tuesday and will likely have the case against him dropped after being in jail since June 28, 2011.
“I feel good. Thank God,” Dula told the Daily News Tuesday night as he played with his 3-year-old son for the first time in a year in front of his Crown Heights home.“I’m glad to be home with my family,” he said. “I’m still in shock. I’m traumatized. It wasn’t a good experience. They took me away on my son’s birthday. It was heartbreaking.”
The stunning turn of events came after Brooklyn prosecutors turned over a newly discovered statement that Dula’s 22-year-old accuser made to cops in which she says he never raped her. The alleged victim made a complaint to police on March 31, 2010, accusing Dula and his pal Damien Crooks, 32, of being part of a crew who raped, beat and pimped her out since age 13.
A day later, the woman told detectives she was a hooker for five years and made up the rape allegation, records show.
“I once again asked [her] if she was raped,” a detective wrote in a police report after the interview. “She told me ‘no’ and stated to me, ‘Can’t a ho change her ways?’
The woman also signed a recantation, but the case proceeded and in spring 2011, a grand jury voted to indict Dula, Crooks and two others who were allegedly part of the crew.
And of course the prosecutor who directly handled the case, Abbie Greenberger,  is now blaming her bosses for the situation. I guess that makes sense. No one wants to be the scapegoat. I understand and feel the same way. Of course when I mess up no one spends a year in jail....

Greenberger said she found inconsistencies in the 22-year-old accuser’s account, but couldn’t convince her boss there was a problem.
“When I brought the inconsistencies to Lauren Hersh (chief of the sex-trafficking unit at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office), I was told that I didn’t do my job right and that I’m trying to dismiss the case and that I should work harder,” Greenberger told the Daily News.
See the problem here believe it or not isn't just that the victim lied, although that is bad enough and she ought to face the same criminal penalties that the man faced. No the REAL problem (and perhaps Old Guru and/or The Janitor can weigh in on this) is that the prosecutor did not disclose this information to the defense attorney and/or judge. I'm no lawyer but I kind of thought that the prosecutor had a duty to do justice, not just win a conviction. Maybe not.

Now why did the prosecutor continue with this farce? Could it have been that the District Attorney has gotten a little too cozy with certain elements within the local Orthodox Jewish community? Could the DA have believed the so-called victim was telling the truth before she recanted? Could the DA have believed this fellow was better off in jail, regardless of whether or not he actually committed this crime? Could the DA have been responding to a feminist constituency that doesn't always seem to understand that women are no more moral than men and are just as capable of mendacity?
I don't know. All I know is that I would like to have believed that if I were wrongfully accused and the police and prosecutors knew that then they would take the necessary steps to stop the machinery of justice from moving forward and throw that bad boy in reverse, to right before the time when they told me "You're under arrest". But honestly I knew that was an unreal expectation even before I read this story. All it takes is being in the wrong place at the wrong time and your life can suddenly change. I don't have tens of thousands of dollars sitting around for bail or attorneys.
How do we fix this?
My ideas are pretty simple. 
  • Hold prosecutors and police personally and criminally responsible when they lie or hide evidence. They do a necessary if often unpleasant job. But they should not be above the law or get a free pass for this sort of thing.
  • When someone lies about rape and it can be proven as a lie, send them to prison for the same amount of time that the assailant would have served. 
  • Stop with the fiction that women never lie about things. They do. The entire point of the adversarial justice system is to hopefully let the truth come out and in such a way that someone is not convicted of a crime without evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. This requires a defense attorney that is going to get after the accuser.
  • Stop hiding the victim's (or in this case liar's) name from the public. Perhaps if more people had been aware of who this woman was someone might have come forward earlier. Rape is a horrible crime and should be punished most severely. But in order to do that we must ensure we're punishing the right people. That's why we need as much transparency as possible within the system.
What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Companies Demand Facebook Passwords!

"We're watching you"
One of the nice things about being a blogger or frequent blog commenter is that you get the opportunity to build an online persona and interact with people literally all over the world. This online persona may be close to your "real life" personality or it may be 180 degrees apart. You may decide to be totally and completely transparent with readers and co-bloggers or you may hold on fiercely to your "secret" or "online identity" and associated privacy.
Now imagine if a would be employer did an online search for you and found your Facebook page. They looked at the public views and didn't find anything objectionable: no racist jokes and calls for bloody revolution, no fond memories (and pictures) of Copenhagen orgies, no five star reviews of Tijuana brothels. You're good to go right? Not so fast. Let's say that the would be employer is not convinced that you're not hiding something. After all EVERYONE is hiding something. And this employer is a watchful, distrustful sort.

So the interviewer politely asks you for your various and sundry passwords from your Facebook/disqus/yahoo/gmail/hushmail/google/linkedin/amazon/etc accounts so that they can log on as you and review all of your private pages, emails, instant messages, associates, and what you've been viewing, reading or watching in your personal time.  
  • After all, you might be a terrorist or worse, an ACLU member. 
  • You might have friends of friends who said something negative about the company two years ago. 
  • You might belong to "problematic" political or cultural groups.
  • Maybe you've sent naughty instant messages to your spouse, significant other or friend with benefits. 
  • You may have neglected to mention certain medical conditions you have.
  • Maybe you got a thang going on with Mrs. Jones.
Like I said, EVERYONE is hiding something. But if you're NOT hiding anything then of course you won't mind the company looking, right? RIGHT????
SEATTLE (AP) — When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password. Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn't see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information..
Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn't want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no...
Back in 2010, Robert Collins was returning to his job as a security guard at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services after taking a leave following his mother's death. During a reinstatement interview, he was asked for his login and password, purportedly so the agency could check for any gang affiliations. He was stunned by the request but complied.
"I needed my job to feed my family. I had to," he recalled,
After the ACLU complained about the practice, the agency amended its policy, asking instead for job applicants to log in during interviews.

Robert Collins
I think this is just a sad state of affairs. As so many people have been apathetic or quiet about the government invading their privacy without cause whether it be NYPD/FBI spying, FISA or Patriot Act or TSA searches, it only makes sense that companies would want to get in on the act.
I can't imagine working for a company that would even have the nerve to ask me something like this. The answer would be no. I would end the interview.  Of course I'm not currently desperate for a job and I matured before online personas had become so ubiquitous. What would I do were I younger or if I needed to get some money pretty doggone quickly to avoid eviction or repossession? I would still stand on principle and tell them to attempt airborne copulation with a revolving pastry. I've got to be free. But that's just me. How about you? You may need to think about this.

And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply 
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why  
He said "You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do"  
So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"   
1) Would you agree to give a company passwords to your Facebook, emails, blogs, etc?
2) Should this be illegal?
3) Do you think a company would ever have any valid reason to ask for this information?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Racial Profiling on Airplanes-Detroit Incident

It's never a good thing to be accused of or questioned about something that you had nothing to do with. When the people doing the accusing or questioning have the full might of the US Federal Government behind them, it's even worse. And it's really bad when the primary reason for the accusation or questioning is not something that you did, it's how you look. I've been through some minor instances of this a few times but never anything like what recently happened to Shoshana Hebshi, a Toledo woman of Jewish-Arabic heritage.

On September 11, 2011, there was an incident at Detroit Metro Airport that made national news. Reportedly a few dark-complected men were allegedly "acting suspiciously" during a Denver to Detroit Frontier Airlines flight.  The story was that they were in the bathroom together or one was in the bathroom for too long. F-16 fighter jets were scrambled and escorted the airliner to its suburban Detroit destination.

Law enforcement personnel and bomb squad specialists surrounded the plane. Armed police stormed the plane yelling at everyone to put their heads down and their hands on the seats in front of them.

(AP) -- An Ohio woman who was one of three people taken off an airplane at Detroit's airport and questioned on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks says she was shocked when armed officers stopped at her row and ordered her off.
Shoshana Hebshi, 35, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday that she believes she was targeted because of her Middle Eastern appearance. Hebshi, who describes herself as half-Arabic, half-Jewish with a dark complexion, said she endured nearly four hours in police custody that included being forced off an airplane in handcuffs, strip-searched and interrogated.

Please read Shoshana's detailed blow-by-blow account of what happened here. It's moving stuff.

Things like this make me very angry because in my humble opinion it shows that America has succumbed to its fears. We're losing the sense that the police/government should have limits on their actions. We have implemented a sort of deliberate overreaction which is more about flaunting the power of the state over the individual than it is about stopping any terrorist attack.

I hope that the legal experts who read and/or author this blog will chime in but to this simple guy from Detroit, it seems that something has gone drastically wrong with this society when the mere whisper of suspicion can cause F-16 FIGHTER JETS to scramble, an armed team to enter a plane and an American citizen to be detained for four hours without arrest or warrant, handcuffed and STRIP-SEARCHED.

I do not think that the so-called War on Terror and the US Constitution are compatible. I am worried that if forced to choose, too many of my fellow citizens and their elected representatives will choose (have chosen?) the War on Terror. This means increasing numbers of "exceptions" to the Bill of Rights, increased militarization of the Police and politicization of the Armed Forces as their roles and duties merge, and of course ongoing "intelligence" gathering on American citizens-what websites you read, who you give political support to, what books you buy, where you travel, who your friends are, who you talk to and so on. And why would you oppose any of this? You don't want the terrorists to win do you? Do you?

For what's it worth neither Shoshana Hebshi nor the South Asian men were charged with any crime and nothing of danger was found on the plane. Evidently the dudes weren't in the bathroom at the same time either. No new members were inducted into the "mile high club" (same sex division)

1) Did anyone do anything wrong here or are these just the times we live in?
2) Would Hebshi have been within her rights to refuse to answer any questions w/o an attorney present? What would you have done?
3) If you see a group of South Asian/Middle Eastern people sitting together on an airplane do you get nervous ?(Don't answer if you're Juan Williams-got your response already)
4) Should Hebshi sue? If so whom?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

About that Libyan War

Imperialism's most dangerous aspect is its seductive nature. This can be just as sexy to self-identified progressives or liberals as it is to unabashed conservatives and reactionaries. The only difference lies in the arguments made. Progressives are likely to be unmoved by open claims of racial, religious or national superiority, greedy interest in someone else's natural resources or simple conquest for the sheer pleasure of violence and dominance. These days, those sorts of honest justifications don't work on many people to the left of Max Boot or Niall Ferguson. 

But there is a different set of casus belli that turns progressives into bloodthirsty killers. Those who would get progressives to support a war or at least mute their opposition to it know exactly which buttons to push. Reasons that turn progressive Poodles into rabid Rottweilers are such claims as "Unfortunately we must intervene in those people's countries and protect them from themselves" or "We're helping set them on the right path for their own good" or "We're protecting women from their sexist patriarchal countrymen" or best of all "We're preventing genocide by invading this country".

Now that Colonel Qaddafi is no longer in control of Libya it might be a good time to take a quick look at some arguments for intervening in Libya that were made by the President, his advisers and supporters. Many of these premises have been shown to be wrong. A few were nonsensical from the start.

Qaddafi will commit genocide
This was particularly laughable as Qaddafi had not committed genocide in any of the cities that he had recaptured. His threats were delivered to those people who were in open revolt. When shooting starts, kind words stop. I can't think of anyone who is going to offer milk and cookies to people trying to overthrow you.

This is not a war so the War Powers Act doesn't apply
I am the law!!
We've discussed this before but Obama's weak and deliberately contemptuous dismissal of the War Powers Act and the constitutional limits of the Presidency is another nail in the coffin of the doctrine of separation of powers. The fact the Congress lacked the guts to defund the war leaves me with nothing but cold contempt for the people that voted to fund this war. Some day the worm will turn and there will be a conservative Republican president that decides on his/her own that it would be great fun to bomb some brown "savages", who lack even rudimentary air defenses and can't defend themselves. When that day comes and it surely will I don't want to hear a mumbling word from any so-called liberals if they supported Obama's illegal war.  Not. One. Word.

Qaddafi's soldiers are taking Viagra to commit rape
It's not clear whether UN Ambassador Susan Rice pulled this yarn from some old lurid Edgar Rice Burroughs' adventure tales or if it was misinformation sourced from some Libyan rebels. In any event it was untrue, which raises the question of why such a highly placed official would repeat it. Obviously that's a rhetorical question. Much like the bs story about Saddam Hussein's troops removing incubators and leaving babies to die or Colin Powell's endorsement of fake intelligence before the Iraq war or Condoleeza Rice's invoking of mushroom clouds to justify the Iraq War, people who want war have no qualms about lying to stir up support for their position. After all if crazed Arabs toked up on Viagra are running around raping women, surely we must do something. Right? Where is El Borak when you need him?

The UN resolution allows regime change
The UN resolution was for a no-fly zone to protect civilians. It had nothing to say about removing Qaddafi via force. That was something which was done by the US and NATO. And this raises another question. Why the hell does NATO still exist? The Warsaw Pact doesn't. NATO looks more and more like just a updated version of neo-colonial policing.

Qaddafi's a dictator who kills his own people
Yes. And? So are half the heads of state in Africa and the Mideast, Central Asia and some places in Eastern Europe. Many of these people are good US friends. In fact the US even outsourced torture to Syria. Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar are all close allies of the US. But if you happen to be a native of any of those countries who seeks political change-say like seeking free elections- well you just might come up missing. You might have the police open fire on you, imprison you for life, rape you, threaten to rape your family, or if you're REALLY lucky just get cracked upside the head/beaten or tortured for a few hours. But while you're watching someone carefully crank a car battery attached to your genitalia at least you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your country's head of state is a close American ally.
Don't worry. I'm on Team USA!
So if a West Bank Palestinian man is protesting occupation and apartheid and is shot by an Israeli soldier who is helping oversee said occupation and apartheid that's ok. But if that man's cousin is shot protesting for democracy in Syria it's a human rights violation.  It's just fine if Hosni Mubarak oversees a reign of repression and brutality because as Vice-President Biden said , "I would not refer to him as a dictator". At this point to make it easier for us all perhaps the Administration could give us a list of people who aren't dictators. Or they could just give up a list of countries that do what the hell they're told to do by the US. I think that might be the same list.

The Republicans don't want to give Obama credit
This is a particularly perniciously putrid pile of partisan poop. Two people who really should know better, Rev. Al Sharpton and Professor Melissa Harris-Perry both fell (leapt?) into this shortly after the announced imminent fall of Tripoli. Whether it was Sharpton braying about those evil Republicans not giving the President credit for his wisdom or Harris-Perry making a disingenuous and completely ahistorical segue between MLK's fight for freedom in the US and the Obama led "fight for freedom" in Libya, some people in this country are so caught up in partisanship that they lose heed of the very ideas that attracted them to one group or another. The ideas no longer matter-just the group and its victories. In this point of view the numbers of Libyans killed by US drones, cruise missiles and bombs are not important. The unconstitutionality of the war is a minor detail. And they are frankly bored with the still rising $896 million cost for the war

No, all that matters to these folks is either finding a way to either bash the President for the war or eagerly defend him. The Libyan war is just like a college football game. Such people seem blissfully unconcerned with the fact that people die in war. Sadly many of these partisan hacks have lost sight of the fact that for the true anti-war activists, it doesn't really matter if it is a Democrat or Republican dropping bombs in Pakistan, firing drone missiles in Yemen or murdering Iranian scientists. Much like LBJ and the media/civil rights establishment's reaction to MLK opposing the war in Vietnam, they appear to be shocked, shocked(!), that some people actually take their moral codes seriously and do not change them based on which team's frontman is currently sitting in the White House. Thus they can only process opposition to war as "trying to bring down the President". 

This isn't about oil
Yeah right. If you actually believe that I have to wonder if you're allowed to feed and clean yourself each morning.  The scramble for access to Libya's oil wealth begins. Some relevant quotes from this article are 
Colonel Qaddafi proved to be a problematic partner for international oil companies, frequently raising fees and taxes and making other demands. A new government with close ties to NATO may be an easier partner for Western nations to deal with. Some experts say that given a free hand, oil companies could find considerably more oil in Libya than they were able to locate under the restrictions placed by the Qaddafi government.
“We don’t have a problem with Western countries like Italians, French and U.K. companies,” Abdeljalil Mayouf, a spokesman for the Libyan rebel oil company Agoco, was quoted by Reuters as saying. “But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil.”
Russia, China and Brazil did not back strong sanctions on the Qaddafi regime, and they generally supported a negotiated end to the uprising. All three countries have large oil companies that are seeking deals in Africa.

And to buttress this "cut China out of the oil deals" case and show China's perfidy a Canadian newspaper has "found" documents which show that Qaddafi was committing the cardinal sin of trying to protect himself by buying weapons from China. How dastardly!!!
We have a responsibility to protect
Closely related to "stopping genocide" and "he's a bad guy" arguments this argument appeals to the heartstrings of progressives and says fine even if this isn't strictly legal via a UN resolution or the US Constitution we can not sit back and let this violence occur.  It's always 1939 in this worldview. 
Balderdash. If that were really the case then the next time a Palestinian woman like Jawaher Abu Rahma is killed at a protest or an American woman like Emily Henochowicz loses an eye after being shot in the face I will look to the US/UN to protect peaceful protesters in Israel. Ok, ok, maybe that's too much to ask, Israel being a "special case" and all. Hmm. How about just protecting Black people in Libya?

But Gaddafi loyalists were also targets of apparent extrajudicial killings. Those deaths have cast a dark shadow over Libya’s newfound freedom and call into question whether the rebels will break with Gaddafi’s blood-soaked style of governance or merely mimic it.
“In Tripoli, we are seeing the same pattern in recent days that we saw earlier in the east,” said Diana Eltahawy, Libya researcher for Amnesty International. She described a record of abuse, torture and the extrajudicial killing of captured pro-Gaddafi fighters that has followed the rebels from east to west as they have taken over the country.
The worst treatment of Gaddafi loyalists appeared to be reserved for anyone with black skin, whether they hailed from southern Libya or from other African countries. Darker-skinned prisoners were not getting the same level of medical care in a hospital in rebel-held Zawiyah as lighter-skinned Arab Libyans, Eltahawy said.
Rebels say Gaddafi employed gunmen from sub-Saharan Africa to shore up his army against his own people, and those fighters have elicited intense enmity from Libyans. But many of the detainees in Zawiyah told Amnesty International they were merely migrant workers  “taken at gunpoint from their homes, workplaces and the street on account of their skin color,” Eltahawy said
As rebel leaders pleaded with their fighters to avoid taking revenge against “brother Libyans,” many rebels were turning their wrath against migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, imprisoning hundreds for the crime of fighting as “mercenaries” for Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi without any evidence except the color of their skin.
Many witnesses have said that when Colonel Qaddafi first lost control of Tripoli in the earliest days of the revolt, experienced units of dark-skinned fighters apparently from other African countries arrived in the city to help subdue it again. Since Western journalists began arriving in the city a few days later, however, they have found no evidence of such foreign mercenaries.
Still, in a country with a long history of racist violence, it has become an article of faith among supporters of the Libyan rebels that African mercenaries pervaded the loyalists’ ranks. And since Colonel Qaddafi’s fall from power, the hunting down of people suspected of being mercenaries has become a major preoccupation.
Human rights advocates say the rebels’ scapegoating of blacks here follows a similar campaign that ultimately included lynchings after rebels took control of the eastern city of Benghazi more than six months ago.
The detentions reflect “a deep-seated racism and anti-African sentiment in Libyan society,” said Peter Bouckaert, a researcher with Human Rights Watch who visited several jails. “It is very clear to us that most of those detained were not soldiers and have never held a gun in their life.”
In a dimly lighted concrete hangar housing about 300 glassy-eyed, dark-skinned captives in one neighborhood, several said they were as young as 16. In a reopened police station nearby, rebels were holding Mohamed Amidu Suleiman, a 62-year-old migrant from Niger, on allegations of witchcraft. To back up the charges, they produced a long loop of beads they said they had found in his possession.
“People are afraid of the dark-skinned people, so they are all suspect,” Mr. Benrasali said, noting that residents had also rounded up dark-skinned migrants in Misurata after the rebels took control. He said he had advised the Tripoli officials to set up a system to release any migrants who could find Libyans to vouch for them.
He was held in a segregated cell with about 20 other prisoners, all African migrants but one. 
Outside a former Qaddafi intelligence building, rebels held two dark-skinned captives at knifepoint, bound together at the feet with arms tied behind their backs, lying in a pile of garbage, covered with flies. Their captors said they had been found in a taxi with ammunition and money. The terrified prisoners, 22-year-olds from Mali, initially said they had no involvement in the Qaddafi militias and then, as a captor held a knife near their heads, they began supplying the story of forced induction into the Qaddafi forces that they appeared to think was wanted.

So no fears, Black people!!! As soon as you can find a white person to vouch that you're a good abd and not a witch you'll be free to go. 2011 Libya, 1937 Mississippi, it's all good right?Ambassador Rice, President Obama you might want to avoid Libya for a while. We certainly don't want any misunderstandings. Cause they might not end as well as did Professor Gates' incident.
Many blog readers know that I am a huge A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) fan. A crystal clear series theme which bears repeating here is that war is an evil thing. It is so evil that it should be avoided whenever possible. Because when war is unleashed no one knows where things will end up. We do know that the people who pay the heaviest price for war are often the people who had nothing to do with starting it. The ONLY justification for war is self-defense. 
Thoughts? Comments? Rebuttals? Had you heard about the plight of Blacks in Libya?