Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fine Police Work

On August 17, 2006 two men were arrested in Florida who were the subject of a drug sting - or were they? Pinellas County Sheriff's Narcotics Division officers were following two black men in a white Chevy Lumina with tinted windows who were seen leaving a house known to be a spot to buy the most awful drug known to man: marijuana. Well, the police lost track of the car so they did the next best thing which was to find a white Lumina with tinted windows being driven by two black guys. Not a tough task in Florida. The undercover officers followed the new duo into an Enterprise rent-a-car store in St. Petersburg, pointed their guns at the men that they had failed to identify correctly, made them get on the ground, kicked and shoved them a little bit, put them in handcuffs, and then high-fived each other for a job well done.

Well, as most places are, the store was equipped with security cameras which caught all the action on tape. The men just received a settlement worth $100,000 paid for by the taxpayers of Pinellas County, Florida. But there is a question that might be on your mind: this happened back in August, why is it being reported on now? Well, because the officers just started serving their suspensions - a whole 12 days without pay - now. In addition to the 12 days, the men will be assigned to desk duty for a year, then are allowed to go back on the street to arrest any pair of black men who dare drive a white Lumina with tinted windows in Pinellas County. By the way, this is not just some mistaken arrest, the two innocent men were roughed up enough that Enterprise had to throw out the rug that the men were handcuffed on due to the large amount of blood spilled on it from the men's various cuts, split lips, etc. suffered from the narcs. I do not remember this story being reported on a national scale when it happened, only when it turns out that the police were punished for their wrongdoing. That begs the question - how often do things like this happen and do not get reported on, or how often does it happen and the officers get away with it? It's something to think about, especially if you drive a car and happen to be black. Peace.

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