Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Too Much Truth to Bear?

From AlterNet:

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday that black men in Boston who avoid run-ins with police officers may be justifiably motivated by a desire to “avoid the recurring indignity of being racially profiled,” and their flight should not be automatically interpreted as evidence of “criminal activity.”
The ruling throws out an unlawful firearm possession conviction against Jimmy Warren, whose arrest nearly five years ago appears to be a case study in racial profiling.
Warren was apprehended and searched by police, who “found no contraband on his person,” according to the ruling. Immediately following the arrest, police spotted a .22 caliber firearm nearby, and Warren was eventually charged and convicted of illegally possessing the gun.

In its Tuesday ruling, the high court determined that police were not justified in stopping Warren. “Lacking any information about facial features, hairstyles, skin tone, height, weight, or other physical characteristics, the victim's description 'contribute nothing to the officers' ability to distinguish the defendant from any other black male' wearing dark clothes and a 'hoodie' in Roxbury," the decision states.

In perhaps its most far-reaching determination, the court then argued that Warren and other black men in Boston may be justified in running from law enforcement, given the city's poor track record with racial profiling.

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