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Monday, December 04, 2006

Suspicion of negritude


Don't shoot, I'm white

Presumed Guilty

By BOB HERBERT
Published: December 4, 2006

The death of Sean Bell at the hands of undercover police officers, who also wounded his two companions in their 50-shot barrage in Queens nine days ago, brought to mind a case from a few years back in which undercover cops, acting on bogus information, attacked an innocent group of young people in a car in Manhattan.

The cops in the Manhattan case assumed that the people in the car were lowlifes. They were all Ivy League graduates, and one is currently clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

The incident occurred about 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2000. Two men and two women who were running their own startup Internet company, MagicBeanStalk.com, were parked outside a subway station on East 14th Street, near Union Square. Without any warning, a plainclothes officer leaped out of a yellow cab with his gun drawn and rushed the car with the four young people in it.

Thinking he was being carjacked, the driver put the vehicle in reverse and tried to get away. He was blocked by an unmarked police car that had pulled up behind him. He ended up hitting both the unmarked car and the cab (which was also a police vehicle) in his unsuccessful effort to flee.

The driver, Jason Rowley, who was 25 at the time, had no idea that the man with the gun was a cop. “I thought he was going to shoot me,” he said in an interview last week. “I was trying to get out of there.”

The passenger in the front seat, Sheldon Gilbert, said, “We thought we were going to die, plain and simple.”

The first cop was joined by two others, also in plain clothes. The officers apparently were enraged by Mr. Rowley’s effort to get away. One smashed the window on the driver’s side of the car and dragged Mr. Rowley through it, ripping his thumb in the process. Mr. Gilbert said his door was yanked open and he was punched in the face and then dragged from the car. The two men were then beaten.

The two women, Lauren Sudeall and Marie Claire Lim, were in the back seat, completely terrified. They were taken from the car at gunpoint and handcuffed. All four occupants were arrested.

It turned out that the cops were acting on a mistaken computer report that Mr. Rowley’s car was stolen. As frightening as the incident was, the four people in the car were lucky that none of the cops opened fire. “I spent that night in jail,” said Mr. Rowley, “and a lot of the officers told me that if this had been elsewhere — for example, if this has been in the Bronx or Harlem — I’d have been dead.”
............................................
See, when people offer up arguments about what the Bell party was doing, or suggesting that they shouldn't have been in the streets or some other bullshit, you have cases like this. When four educated, clearly innocent not-white people are treated like criminals for no clear reason.

And how does the city handle it?

With a payoff.

Just like Joseph Guzman's criminal record wasn't stiched on his head, these people Ivy League degrees weren't on theirs. But except for the gunfire, they were treated exactly the same way.

Different boroughs, different people, same tactics, same color.

I would bet that the car they were sitting in wasn't a Honda and when you see black people in an expensive car, the assumption of criminality is always permitted. Work? Job? Nope. Dealin' dope or runnin' whores, beacause all black people are criminals. Well, when things get tight, they get treated as such.

posted by Steve @ 11:25:00 AM

11:25:00 AM

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