Policing the Police
ACLU News Wire: March 17, 1999 — Policing the Police
NEW YORK, NY — As protests against police brutality continue in New York City, news sources revealed that an overwhelming majority of people fear and distrust police, believing blacks and minorities to be the frequent victims of racially biased police abuses.
In the aftermath of the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, the New York Times yesterday reported that fewer than a quarter of all New Yorkers believe that the police treat black and whites evenly, with blacks in particular distrusting the police.
In the Times poll, nearly 9 out of 10 black residents said they thought the police often engaged in brutality against blacks, and almost two-thirds said police brutality against members of minority groups is widespread. In addition, more than two-thirds of blacks said the policies of the Giuliani administration have caused an increase in police brutality.
“When you substitute skin color for evidence, what you get is Jim Crow Justice,” said Ira Glasser, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The police are out of control.”
This type of racially motivated police abuse should come as no surprise, Glasser added. As the Associated Press revealed today, a manual used to train hundreds of police officers around the nation urges them to choose Jamaican drivers and cars bearing colors of the Ethiopian flag for drug stops.
According to AP, the manual reads: “Jamaicans/Rastafarians have been known to operate and transport narcotics in the following types of vehicles,” and then names Toyota Corollas and Celicas, a Datsun B210, BMWs and Volvos.
The manual also says cars suspected in drug trafficking “may display the Ethiopian flag or the colors of the flag…red, yellow and green, Jamaican paraphernalia, bumper stickers or slogans,” said AP.
“This is a euphemism for stopping people of color,” Sgt. DeLacy Davis, the director of Black Cops Against Police Brutality told AP.
According to the newswire, about 300 officers a year use the manual in a course offered by the Public Agency Training Council of Indianapolis.
More information on the issue can be found at:
/news/1999/n022599a.html — Statement of Ira Glasser, ACLU Executive Director /news/1999/n011099a.html — NYCLU Launches “Campaign to Stop Police Brutality”
Sources: The New York Times, March 16 and 17, 1999
The Associated Press, March 16, 1999
Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.
The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.