I know it is "race baiting" that will cause innumerable deaths among cops, but the DOJ released a report showing that the Baltimore Police Department routinely engaged in unconstitutional stops and arrests and these were targeted overwhelmingly at black individuals. To those who have bothered to have some knowledge of how policing in conducted in the US this is a "dog bites man" story but some of the behavior is hard to imagine. For example:
During a ride-along with Justice Department officials
, a BPD sergeant instructed a patrol officer to stop a group of young African-American males on a street corner, question them, and order them to
disperse. When the patrol officer protested that he had no valid reason to stop the group, the sergeant replied “Then make something up.”
This incident is far from anomalous. A different BPD
sergeant posted on Facebook that when he supervises officers in the Northeast District, he encourages them to “clear corners,” a term many officers understand to mean stopping pedestrians
who are standing on city sidewalks to question and then disperse them by threatening arrest for minor offenses like loitering and trespassing. The sergeant wrote, “I used to say at roll call in NE
when I ran the shift: Do not treat criminals like citizens. Citizens want that corner cleared.”
Indeed, countless interviews with community members and officers describe “corner clearing” scenarios, in which BPD officers stop, question, disperse, or arrest individuals in public areas based
on minimal or no suspicion of highly discretionary offenses.
Such unlawful stops erode public confidence in law enforcement and escalate street encounters, sometimes resulting in officers deploying unnecessary force or committing additional constitutional violations. For example, on a cold January evening in 2013, an officer approached
and questioned an African-American man crossing the street in a “high crime area” while wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The officer lacked any specific reason to believe the man was engaged in
criminal activity, but, according to the incident report prepared by the supervisory officer on the scene, the officer “thought it could be possible that the individual could be out seeking a victim of
44 This unsupported speculation furnishes no basis to conduct a stop. Nonetheless, multiple officers questioned the man and seized a kitchen knife that the man acknowledged carrying.
To justify the stop, officers also noted that the man put his hands in the pockets of his sweatshirt as they approached.
However, given that the encounter occurred on a cold January evening and officers observed the man “shivering,” placing hands inside a sweatshirt adds minimally, if at all, to any objective suspicion the officers possessed. See United
States v. Burton, 228 F.3d 524, 529 (4th Cir. 2000) (holding that where suspect refused to speak with police or remove his
hand from his pocket, “something more is required to establish reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot&rdquo
United States v. Patterson, 340 F.3d 368, 370–72 (6th Cir. 2003) (holding that officers lacked reasonable suspicion where
suspect placed hands in his pockets and walked away from police); United States v. Davis, 94 F.3d 1465, 1468–649 (10th
Cir. 1996) (holding that officers lacked reasonable suspicion to stop a known gang member who ignored officers’ orders
to take his hands out of his pockets).
http://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=3010023-BPD-Findings-Report-FINAL p. 30
Blacks are about three times more likely to be stopped while standing, walking or driving than whites:
Expressed differently, BPD officers made 520 stops for every 1,000 black residents in Baltimore, but only 180 stops for every 1,000 Caucasian residents.
Even though stops of blacks are less
likely to find illegal contraband:
During vehicle stops, BPD officers reported finding some type of contraband less than half as often when searching African Americans—in only 3.9 percent of searches of African Americans, compared to 8.5 percent of other searches. Search hit rates during pedestrian stops also exhibited large disparities, with officers finding contraband in only 2.6 percent of African American searches compared to 3.9
percent for other searches—a 50 percent difference. 61 These results are statistically significant.
Devastating proof that unconstitutional police practices exist on a systemic basis and discriminatorily target blacks. Maybe we should take steps to stop them rather than attempting to suppress organizations like BLM which bring such information to light.