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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There is Always a Way

I have been extremely busy writing for peanuts, but I remain humble and happy because I can eat peanuts, thus, live to write another day.

Regardless of my schedule and list of boring assignments I have made time to keep abreast of the current events, here in Utica, that may radically( I do not use this term loosely) change this city of 50,000.

For those of you that may be reading me(ha-ha), my blog, for the first time I will update you.

Two weeks ago a Utica cop got his ass kicked by three teenagers.

The incident by itself could help explain the current climate here, on the streets of Utica. I am not referring to the victim in this case- which was obviously one of the boys in blue- but the retaliatory tactics that have resulted in unwarranted arrests of honor roll students and extremely aggressive behavior on behalf of law enforcement.

The aggressive behavior from law enforcement when it comes to black folks is nothing new. But some of us thought-golly gee- we earned the right to vote, maybe we will be treated fairly in the courts too.

What a Joke.

on April 12, 2007 they , we, lost a young cop. He was murdered execution style.

Immediately after it happened Our Chief of Police, who doesn't even live in the city and is already collecting a pension from the STATE, blamed the crime on a "young black male wearing a white hoody". This irresponsible allegation was made after absolutely no substantial evidence was even collected- not even shell casings.

Then state, local law enforcement and the FBI swarmed in to this little city and tore our neighborhood apart. There were kids being sequestered on corners by shotgun weilding cops. There were single mothers waking up to a gun barrel in the middle of the night while their children screamed, their houses 'searched' from top to bottom by our 'occupying force' following unsubstantiated 'leads' (rumors).

Oh Yeah they had K-9 on duty as well; just in case we got uppity.

In the wake of the war in Iraq with war veterans trickling back into the system, I am sure they found something for some of these vets to do; they were used to this stuff in Baghdad.

The primarily African American populace in this part of the city(Cornhill) stood by; perhaps feeling a bit empathetic, taken aback by the brutality and coldness of the crime these poor cops were trying to solve.

A lot of the black leadership(the all powerful Utica Coalition) agreed many steps would have to be taken to capture the monster that commited the horrific crime. There were many in private that admitted rights might even get violated.

You think?

The Police saw it as the green light they have been waiting for.

"These people are out of control" is a common sentiment when reffering to the population of Cornhill(the hood). Even news reports unfairly target this area as particularly bad, a place where you can get killed, robbed and score a lot of drugs.

They forgot to mention the rest of Utica.

Utica the city where the people down at city hall don't even live here , Utica the City where Walter Washington, an unarmed black man, was shot dead by a cop His excuse? "It was dark".
Utica the city where the police make the charges not the D.A..

Utica a city where they make it up as they go along.

This brings us to the current events. On Friday sept. 14 2007 James Scutchins Jr was arrested. He was charged with disorderly conduct or some other petty offense. He was part of a large group of teens on their way home from school on a warm fall day.

The Observer Dispatch incorrectly reported a group of one hundred and fifty kids were refusing to get out of the street and let traffic pass. Anyone who lives in Utica or Cornhill for that matter knows that half the population walk in the street , actually it is a good way to tell if someone is from Utica.

If you grew up here you walk in the street.

The cars that have to navigate through these usually small crowds do so without much trouble. The kids are a permeable membrane that will not challenge one ton of steel moving thirty miles per hour.

What really happened- according to corroborated testimony that I gathered on my own- was a single officer ordered the kids to get out of the street.

They did not comply .

The officer continued to follow the group of thirty to forty kids and without back up threatened them.

We all know how this ends

Some brave soul in the group chucks an object at the Police car and all hell , once again, breaks loose. She finally calls for back up. The tactical squad is the first on the scene. Every one knows tac squad cops play a whole different ballgame than their uniformed counterparts, James is a tall kid they singled him out and he was on his ass before he even knew what happened.

The problem?

James is fifteen he is also a good kid I can personally attest to that. I took him and a school bus of forty excited, impulsive, growing and smart kids to Hamilton College twice a month all last year.

James giggles when he swears.

When ever I needed to correct his behavior he was always respectful. His father, James Sr. was always on speed dial quick to discipline him for any misdeed or associatoon with those who perform them. I do not wear a badge so I assume he would be even more respectful to a cop. The police said he swore at them and resisted arrest.

Not Fucking Possible

If he did, puberty brought on a rapid change in this young man.

Needless top say the black community is shocked. On 9/18 federally funded Weed and Seed held a Town Hall meeting with police representatives to answer questions and alleviate any concerns. they did a great job of rolling their eyes and calling us children. I'll admit some people came off a bit ignorant, but these people full of pent up emotions, were not privy to the structured protocol of spin doctors.

The bullshit factor was smelling up the room the condescending, patronizing attitude was exemplified with this response from the police rep " Excuse me ma'am but... ah.... you are being a bit vague. Do you actually have a question"? she was detailing how her fourteen year old son had a weapon pulled on him. The woman stammered, said "Fuck this " and left.

Most of the concerns revolved around incidents like that and The typical response? "Ma'am , sir do you actually have a question"?

I got my chance

I asked him if he would take the concerns, that were so clearly pointed out, back with him to the station and relay what we communicated to his superiors. He answered "Is that a question"?

I persponally do not think they give a fuck. One of their official spokesemen, Officer Tuarisano exemplified their position in response to a planned press conference.

"This is America. If they believe in something, they have their right to freedom of speech, don't they?"

He didn't say- don't we? - as Americans

He chooses words for a living.

Don't they? Don't they?

Not we, not us.

It is us...and them

Isn't it?


fairlane said...

What do you even say Dave? (Yes, that was a question).

"They", and I mean "They," don't care if people "respect" them, they want people to be afraid.

Either people are going to finally wake up or we are seriously fucked.

victor said...

You should have this published in a much larger medium.

So, our cops are shitty. Let's fire them?

How do you go about doing that?

luminaria said...

This whole thing stinks to hell. "Do you have a question?" is the flipside of the criminals in power saying "I don't recall" or "I don't remember." Pre-emptive injustice. I'm surprised no one thought to look for nooses hung in a tree...