Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Antecedents of "Stop and Frisk"

Stop and Frisk is not new. In the Bronx in the 1930's, 1940's, and 1940's, police would stop blacks boys and adolescents when they were walking through middle class white neighborhoods and tell them they had to leave- in working class white neighborhoods, street gangs would do the job for them. Here is an excerpt of an interview I did with longtime Bronx activist Jesse Davidson dealing with racial profiling by police during his youth MN: So in other words, you would have these “islands” of racial harmony surrounded by highly segregated neighborhoods where African-Americans couldn’t move. JD: Absolutely, yes. MN: Was it unsafe to go into those neighborhoods? JD: You are talking about my young life again. For the sake of the policemen, I can tell you right now, they still leave a very bad feeling inside of me. In those days, I couldn’t walk on the concourse, two or three of us together without a police car pulling up. MN: In the late 30s early 40s, if there were more than one African-American walking on the Concourse, a police car was going to stop them. JD: Absolutely. MN: What would they say to you? JD: By the time you got over to the car, the door would open and bang you right in your stomach. The term “nigger” would come out of a policeman in a minute. Two policemen with guns, pulling out their guns when you haven’t said anything yet.

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