Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Zero tolerance of those you "protect and serve"

The police have been instituting a "zero-tolerance policy" for 30 days in South Philly (see prev. here), in an attempt to stop the rise in the crime rate there (and/or look like they're doing something). Unfortunately, a recent incident highlights the problem in relations between the police and local residents: a boy was talking to a friend on his front stoop when the friend got hit by stray bullets from a passing gunman. First, the police didn't believe the boy when he attempted to elicit their aid (from the next block), and then, while the boy and his mother were giving a report at the station, they took it upon themselves to search the family's house without reason or warrant. No mention is made of race here, but it's hard not to see this as another example of people being treated as suspects by the police for the crime of being while black -- you'd think a special assignment might sensitize the force to their usual biases against neighborhoods and colors, but sadly no...

Update: It may be that the boy who reported the shooting was actually the shooter, although some details in the case remain unclear. I am reminded of why I usually stay out of these things...


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