It Happened in front of my house last night! New tactics at urban renewal, or Fascism in its newest form?
By Dale G. Cox
Sunday February 13, 2000, approximately 5:30 PM, walking the dog towards the corner of 21st and Cherry Ave. in Seattle Washington. A car turns the corner in front of me followed by an unmarked police car with its lights on. The car in front turns the corner out of the traffic on Cherry and comes to a stop. The unmarked police car pulls up behind it.
I was observing the cars from the right side. The doors on the police cruiser open, two officers exiting on that side of the car, pause a moment and put their 20oz Latte's down in the grass so they wouldn't spill, then drew their weapons and made a quick assault on the driver in the car in front. Within a few moments, two officers had pulled him from the car and immediately hand-cuffed him and began to search him, while the third officer searched the car.
I stood about twenty feet away watching, and after several minutes of questioning the young man and being physical with him, they hustled him into the back seat of the unmarked cruiser.
At this point I left, because it was obvious that they didn't want anybody overhearing the conversation. But I observed the situation about ten minutes later when I passed again on my way home.
About fifteen to twenty minutes after that, the cruiser went passed my house and the young man was parking across the street. When they stopped him I had recognized that he lived somewhere on the block. In fact just a couple doors down. I approached him to find out what happened, he told me it was a profile stop. He fit "the description". They gave him two tickets for things that could not have been found without stopping him. Consolation tickets, for the honor of being harassed by the government. They found no justifiable reason to arrest him.
Now some of you may want to assume, that since this had to have been a young black man in a neighborhood with low income imagery, that this was the same thing you saw on COPS last week. But, what you may have failed to notice, was that even when they did it on COPS, they were still violating your civil rights. With the aggressive approach the officers made towards this young man, I would have suspected him as being armed and dangerous, or at least a repeat offender recognized by the Police, and potentially having warrants. But, no, this was only a profile stop. The act of violating an American Citizen's civil rights, for something as vague as a profile stop. Racism, basically. To say that because someone looks a certain way, they are a threat to the common good, is prejudice. Who decides what look is out and what look is in? The American people as a body elective? Or individuals charged with the care of the American People, acting on the premise of our absence from the cognitive thinking necessary for us to get along. Saying that we must be protected from ourselves, in spite of ourselves.
Well the lucky people responsible for this are our Mayor, the same one responsible the "violence" at the WTO meeting here last november. The US Attorneys office, and the local Seattle Police dept. The program's name is "Weed and Seed". A program set up with the purpose of freeing a neighborhood from the indignity of security bars on the windows. A good social jesture. The sort of thing we would expect from our civic government. But, we must also remember that police officers are people too. We spend alot of taxpayer dollars to have these "people" highly trained. But can we change them as people? Can we know that these people fit the profile of balanced individuals, able to dispense the law objectively? Being approached by an individual with a drawn gun is a life threatening situation. Let me repeat that, being approached by an individual with a drawn gun is a life threatening situation. Even if that person is a police officer. There ought to be a better excuse for doing that besides urban renewal. Accidents have happened here before.
This situation definitely helped me come to the realization that I may not be aware of laws that directly affect me. Next week it could be me if I happen to dress in a way that fits the "profile of the week". How is it that as I occupy myself daily with the actions of being a functioning aspect of the culture, that somewhere else someone else is deciding if I fit the profile of the bad person image. If that isn't enough, they've left me in the completely responsible position of needing to find out, on my own, if they've changed something while I wasn't looking. When they've changed something that directly affects my civil liberties, as I understand them to be. In a duly informed public I would think that it would be important enough to stop reality for a moment to inform us of a change in the contemporary paradigm. Could that mean we are not a duly informed public?
Why this would concern me is in the area of the nature of the "assault" on the young man. License, registration, and proof of insurance were requested at gun point. Now forgive me for not being a seasoned military veteran, or even a police officer, apparently. But I am not experienced in the reality of aggressive gun play, I don't know how I would react to armed men rushing me for any reason. And I'm sure not many of you have ever really considered how it would feel, or how you would react to that. It could be a dramatically emotional moment for you, and as witnessed by the slaying of Amadou Diallo on February 5th, 1999 in New York City, it could be fatal. Amadou made an innocent move during a highly emotional moment, Officers lost control and shot an unarmed man 41 times. The verdict was "not guilty".
With the help of the United States Pentagon, police officers are being trained for military style activities. The question is, does having the police take this more aggressive posture increase the risk of more accidental shootings. Is the amount of force warranted? Do a majority of drivers pulled over for traffic violations pull fire-arms on patrol officers? Do you pull a fire-arm whenever you get pulled over? Do you even fit the profile of what you would consider dangerous? Are you sure?
If you are a young white male living in the "Burbs", chances are this hasn't happened to you as much as its happened to your young African male counterparts living in lower income urban neighborhoods. How do you think you would feel if someone said your neighborhood needed to be cleaned up, fixed, and then preceded to do so. Much the way the Nazi's of Adolf Hitler's Germany did in the years before and during WWII. Just because it doesn't look like what it did fifty years ago, doesn't mean it's not the same thing. We are told the world is full of evil by the very people who create the evil. Who in turn seek to be our heroes and protector's. By the proverbial wolf we are tempted out of our safety, fattened by our own fear, to be devoured in a world where the cause and the effect are one.
You may not want to associate with the young man in mention. You may believe you will never be in his situation, and you may be right. But, here's the catch. As we live and breath in this world we are all party to the expression of humanity, no matter how insignificant we may feel we are, and despite how important we may think we are. We are all the fools. This reality is more than any of us could even imagine we could create, and we have not mastered it, it will master us. It is the parent and we the errant child. One of its golden rules is that you will reap what you sow. Inaction towards any injustice is to allow injustice to exist. To allow injustice to exist is to allow it to grow until one day we will all fall the victim of our own inaction. The nature of liberty described in our Constitution, was imagined to be a reality where no individual would be oppressed by another. Oppression can take many forms. If you are a witness, you are a judge, if you are here, you are involved. The nature of karma is the mastering of our ignorance. No one will get away with even the smallest injustice, until they have been the victim of their own injustice. Allowing oppression to exist because you are not the victim, only calls the karma of oppression upon you. The lesson we will eventually learn is that we are all one, and what's done to one is done to all. The world we all seek will not be achieved by oppressing someone else. It will only be achieved when no one is oppressed.
The constitution states, that under
judicial system, we, as citizens of the United States if America, are
to be assumed innocent, until proven guilty. By upholding this
we establish a boundary that establishes our liberty. Without that
we are oppressed. Not just some of us, all of us. The way the officers
approached the young man, was that he was guilty until they said he was
innocent. His liberty was compromised. this was a deliberate act of
violence. This was a deliberate act of racism. But, most importantly,
was an attack on the integrity of our Constitution. And that attack has
gone unnoticed. If certain Americans are willing to stand by and allow
our Constitution to be violated for any reason, they are guilty of
If America has turned into a Fascist state, and we have become the
what will be our next "act of self-defense"?