Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Stop and Frisk Explained in Pictures

The detention of Daniela Watts on suspicion of kissing her boyfriend in public and her arrest for refusing a police command to "show me your papers," has led to yet another edition of "The American Police State."
In Nazi occupied Europe a Gestapo command of "Papers, please" was a common street encounter. The Gestapo had a simple philosophy that everyone they encountered is a potential enemy.
These teens were walking to school when spotted by cops.
American police have a very similar philosophy. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg defended that city's Stop and Frisk policy by declaring that police and the general public are in constant danger from people walking on the street, anyone of which could be a potential threat.

There are several similarities between the Gestapo and the US police street interviews.
  • Both stops are random with nothing resembling cause (probable or improbable).
  • Both require the victims to raise their hands in humiliating submission.
  • Both demand ID papers.
  • Both include the clear threat to ruin or even take your life if you do not meekly comply.
  • Both pretend politeness, the Gestapo famously said "please," to mask the clear menace. 
  • Both frequently execute their victims on the street for the slightest sign of resistance.
  • Both target minorities. 
There are also differences.
I'm not saying that US police are as bad as the Gestapo. They are not, at least not yet. As US police become more paramilitary and less citizens battling crime, the differences are narrowing. "Land of the Free" is becoming less a rousing national anthem and more a cruel joke.
St. Louis SWAT.
"Home of the Brave" is farce too.

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