I started to leave this as a comment on a blog I read regularly, but it got too long so I decided to move it over here.
Here’s the blog post I was commenting on:
So we have a black locksmith changing a lock.
Someone, presumably a neighbor, called the police to report a person fucking with the lock.
The police arrive.
The replies are full of people hating on the police and the neighbors who called in the complaint.
Read the whole thing.
I’m with J. KB: Were I the homeowner, I’d be happy and thankful that my neighbors were looking out for my house and called the police to report something suspicious, and I don’t really care that the contractor got all butthurt about it, regardless of his race.
My guess is that this is a rental property between tenants. The neighbors probably didn’t even know the landlord to be able to call them about the suspicious activity, so they did what they could.
“But they were working on the front locks in full view in broad daylight”. OK…and? Most break ins in the US occur during the day. That’s when the house is most likely to be empty…and they certainly don’t want to break in when someone’s home, that’s a good way to get shot (incidentally, in Europe, it’s much more common for break-ins to occur when someone’s home…I wonder why?).
Reminds me of a time long, long ago while I was in the Navy. I was a young E-5…didn’t make a lot and had a family to provide for. We were stationed in Millington, TN and when we first got there, got an apartment in North Memphis in a “predominantly black” neighborhood. When I say predominantly, black, what I mean is that we were the only white family in our apartment building and for all I know, in the entire complex. We never had a problem the whole time we lived there other than some minor noise disputes between our downstairs neighbors and us that were resolved amicably.
But one day shortly after I got home from work, one of the other neighbors in the building came knocking at the door. He was basically “canvassing” the building (why the police weren’t doing it, I don’t know) asking everyone if they’d seen anything that day.
It seems that during the day, in broad daylight, some criminals had backed a U-haul up to his apartment door, broken in and cleaned him out of anything remotely of value.
The few people who were around that saw it thought nothing of it…just another resident moving out.
Apparently that was a common MO in that area at the time. They’d case an apartment complex, find an apartment on the first floor where the resident drove a decent car, dressed nicely and was gone during the day, pull up in a truck one day, act confident like they were supposed to be there and clean the place out.
As far as I know they never got caught.
At any rate, the point is that brazenly doing things in full view in broad daylight doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legitimate and the neighbors were right to report it. If they were my neighbors, I’d be hosting a barbeque for them in thanks.
As far as the police response, I’d have to agree that it was a bit excessive, but the cops did seem to be handling it pretty calmly. No one was screaming at the “suspects” or tackling them to the ground.
Part of the problem in these interactions is the chip on the shoulder that many black people have about police interactions. When I get stopped or approached by a cop, I assume they’re just trying to do their job and respond accordingly. I am professional, polite and cooperate in every way I’m legally required to.
Almost every time I see one of these videos, it starts out with the black “suspects” getting all belligerent about the interaction. The common theme is that the only reason the cops are bothering them is because they’re black.
In this situation, that probably isn’t far off the mark, but the fact is race is a factor in crime…it just is. Pretending that isn’t the case doesn’t change the reality. Blacks commit crimes in this country way out of proportion to their percentage of the population, that fact is not seriously disputed by anyone on either side of the debate. Whether they want to admit it or not, young(ish) black men appearing to be breaking into a home…especially in a majority white neighborhood…is suspicious and warrants investigation.
Not necessarily investigation with 6 cops storming the area with tactical rifles up, but you also have to consider what information the cops had to work from. Most likely, all they knew was that they’d received a report of a burglary in progress. No idea what city this is, but it’s possible this is the most excitement they’ve had there in months, so everyone wanted to be involved, hence the overwhelming response to such an apparently minor incident.
At any rate, as I said, I’m completely with J. KB on this: This is the type of public reaction that makes people think twice about getting involved, being good neighbors and trying to protect their neighborhoods; this is the type of thing that ends up enabling crime and making us all less safe.
But, of course, making us less safe is all just part and parcel of the “It’s a feature, not a bug” theme.