Thursday, March 13, 2014

Your rights and You

So, another case of, I don't even know what to call this one.  Certainly it is something.  I want to say racism, but maybe also povertyism (I had to check), but at the very least profiling of some kind. 

I first say this last year some time, and was shocked by it.  We should all be.  One of the stores employees has been stopped nearly 260 times in four years.  Of those times he has been searched one hundred times, and arrested/jailed fifty-six times with an apparent sixty-two arrests for criminal trespassing (that brings my count up to 118 arrests in four years), and the best outcome, a minor charge for possession of weed.  Oh, one other thing, he works at that store.  Just to be clear this one employee has been arrested nearly twice a week for four years.  I give the man credit, after a month of that I would have set sail. 

But its not just this one employee, he has see other employees and some customers stopped and searched as many as three times a day.  At this point, I want to say that when you add cameras, it is to protect you from criminals, you know people who steal from you, damage your property.  If you are installing them as protection against the police you are either doing something wrong, or they are.  But so concerned about the police harassing your staff and your customers that you install a full blown security camera system, that is something else.  I could understand it if they had gotten multiple bad guys, prevented some major crime that could have left someone maimed for life, or dead, but the best they have gotten is minor charges, against people who would be considered petty criminals. 

If that was not enough, and Mr. Paul should take not of the real application of the Fourth Amendment protections, those arrests and searches are just the start.  In over two dozen videos, police are shown arresting people for trespassing when they have permission to be on premises (they have not been asked to leave), conducting searches of the business without presenting a warrant, or otherwise having permission, using excessive force on subjects who are do not appear to be resisting arrest, and filling inaccurate or outright false reports in connection with said arrests.  That last bit deals with the video and the reports on file.

But there are other things that the owner Mr. Saleh claim to have happened.  He alleges that he has been stopped and frisked for no reason, and without asking who he is.  He claims he was stopped for a malfunctioning tag light, one of the officers at some point said "they would get him", and to top it off, he has had his car towed out of his parking lot, allegedly over the same malfunctioning tail light.

Now, he has decided to sue for discrimination, on behalf of his store, his employees, and his customers.  If there was something legitimate going on in the police department, the behavior would continue, but according to Mr. Saleh, it has become less active.  For what its worth the Chief of Police made a written response to the allegations made.  For what it is worth, it amounts to, we do whats right, so there.  I will be keeping an eye out for the goings on in the civil case Mr. Saleh has filed, just to see what happens, but make no bones about it, should he win his case, things will improve greatly, as they should.  Or things will get worse, but be done in such a way that it does not blow back, its how some law enforcement agencies roll.