Monday, September 8, 2014

Who is Being Pre-Judiced?

I questioned the folks crying racism and bashing the cops/city at MinnPost. MinnPost Skyway Arrest Video Of course you can guess the comments that generated.  To which I responded with.
"I guess I have never seen what this gentleman looked like, sounded like or smelled like at that moment. The commenters here want to jump to the conclusion that these officers were raving racists out to harass the Black citizen.

What if... They were just good cops who could tell that something was off with the gentleman. Check out the book "Blink".

I find it interesting that this group of commentors dislikes people who are prejudice, yet they have no problem judging the police officers from a poor quality video clip.

I acknowledge that they may or may not have profiled, but I sure don't know for sure one way or another. You must see more here than I do. Or you think you do." G2A
An interesting point I had not heard before was that this victim did have marijuana on him when he was arrested.  Video  More interesting is that it does not look like he was charged with possession.


Washington Times St Paul Man
Fox Dad to File Lawsuit

Thoughts?

48 comments:

Laurie said...

you really need to learn more about racism in America.

besides that I am too annoyed by your dumb comments to add any thing else to the discussion.

John said...

Photo

If anything I think it was his appearance that drew attention, not his race.

I believe that a white dread headed scruffy beard pot carrying individual would have received similar treatment sitting in front of the bank.

So is race the issue or personal style choices?

Now the police would still likely be in the wrong for "profiling", but would everyone still be so upset.

John said...

One perspective

More thoughts

Dread Locks and Busn School

So are we really talking about racism. Judging someone by their race.

Or stylism, judging someone by their style and life choices. Which we all do...

Sean said...

It doesn't matter terribly much to me why they treated Lollie the way that they did, it's completely unjustified and out of line (unless there is something to the story that hasn't been revealed) to tase a guy who wasn't trespassing and was under no obligation to identify himself to police.

John said...

"It doesn't matter terribly much to me why they treated Lollie the way that they did"

However you are in the minority there apparently, I think every other commenter there wants to chalk this up to racism.

Just curious, do you always want police to wait until after a crime has occured before they take action and ask questions?

By the way, he wasn't tazed because he had or had not loitered, trespassed, etc. He was tazed because he was a person of interest who refused to stop and answer the questions asked by the officers. It probably didn't help his situation when he accused them of being racist.

Sean said...

"He was tazed because he was a person of interest who refused to stop and answer the questions asked by the officers."

Actually, he was answering the officer's questions, other than giving his name. At no point in the recorded conversation did the officer say that Lollie was a suspect in any crime, nor did they (until the very end) place him into custody.

It's fascinating to me that you -- who normally thinks that the government can't organize a one-car parade -- are finding one excuse after another to let these cops off the hook.

This guy wasn't doing anything wrong, and he was unduly hassled by the police. They were any number of ways they could have resolved this situation without tasing the guy, and they chose the path of escalation. For instance, the cops could have walked 10 seconds beyond where the tasing happened with Lollie to the school and confirmed that what he was saying was true.

John said...

You avoided the question as is often the case.

Just curious, do you always want police to wait until after a crime has occured before they take action and ask questions?

As for walking to the daycare.

My impression is that the officers asked for 2 things from him:
1. That he stop and talk to him.
2. That he provide an ID.

His response was to do neither. Not a good choice...

By the way, I put a lot of faith in fire fighters and police officers. I appreciate the challenges they both face in our modern society. Almost as thankless of a job as being a school board member.

Sean said...

"Just curious, do you always want police to wait until after a crime has occured before they take action and ask questions?"

In the video, Lollie is answering questions asked by the officer.

"His response was to do neither. Not a good choice..."

He was not legally obligated to do either of those things.

Why is that so hard to understand?

John said...

We will have to agree to disagree.

Sean said...

What did you think of the Bundy Ranch situation?

John said...

Wiki Bundy Ranch Stand off

Don't know much, but my first impression is that he should pay the rent bill or get his personal cattle off the public land.

John said...

Another Bundy Link

John said...

Race vs Behavior Discussion

Race vs Behavior 2

Black Woman's Response

My point of these is to clarify the difference between racism and something else.

Merriam Webster clearly defines racism as having to do with a persons race. Not to do with how they choose to dress, talk, act, interact, etc.

So does anyone know a different word that better explains when someone is prejudiced due to the above?

John said...

I just remembered how my 13 yr old explained how the kids see this topic in her very very diverse middle school. She who has close friends of every race said that there are the "normal" kids and the "ghetto" kids, and that the difference has nothing to do with their race. There are white "ghetto" kids and black "normal" kids. There are black "ghetto" kids and white "normal" kids.

The difference is in how the choose to dress, behave, talk, etc. I suppose this a modern version of the "nerds" and "greasers".

Thoughts?
Morgan Freeman's Thoughts

Sean said...

None of that has anything to with this situation. The police -- of all people -- are supposed to be the ones able to put aside stereotypes and treat people equally under the law.

John said...

It has everything to do with it.

If Lollie had come up clean, I may have agreed with you. But do you leave work and go to pick up your kids with pot in your pocket?

Does that seem like something a responsible Father, Employee, Citizen, etc does to you?

However in this case Lollie's dress, behavior, appearance, smell, etc led people to question him...

And since he just happens to be Black, people scream racism.

Hold on though... I need to take a sip of that vodka I carry around in my coat before I get back to work and care for my kids. LOL

Sean said...

Give me a break, John. The police were called because he was in an area that was being erroneously reported as a private area, not because he was smoking pot. The police had no idea he was in possession of anything until he told them.

John said...

So you are saying this guy would have received the same attention from the guard?

Dockers Ad

For comparison...
Lollie Mugshot

Sean said...

"So you are saying this guy would have received the same attention from the guard?"

No. I'm saying it shouldn't matter. Wearing dreadlocks is hardly exotic these days.

And the folks who really ought to know that are police officers.

Having dreadlocks or piercings or wearing a hoodie doesn't give anybody the right to stomp on your legal rights. Wearing a skirt above the knees doesn't invite rape, either.

It's time to stop blaming victims and put the responsibility where it belongs.

John said...

What if:
- His clothing smelled like pot?
- What if he appeared somewhat impaired?

We hire guards and police to be very discriminating when they look for potential problems in the public setting.

As I said earlier. Do you want them to wait until after a crime before they start asking questions?

Scenario: A middle aged white man stands on the sidewalk in front of a pre-school watching the kids once in awhile. The pre-school Director is concerned that something is not right. Do you want the police to stop by and ask what is up? Or should they ignore the situation since he is on public property and breaking no laws?

Sean said...

"Do you want them to wait until after a crime before they start asking questions?"

How many times do I need to repeat myself on this?

Lollie was answering the questions asked of him by the officer, except for giving his name -- which he was not legally obligated to do. If they suspected him of being under the influence (of which there is NO evidence, by the way), they could have taken him into custody on that point, but they did not.

The police chose to arrest and tase him outside of the school where he was going, instead of taking a minute to go into the school and verifying that his story was in fact true.

The fact that the city attorney declined to prosecute Lollie for his alleged crimes ought to signal to you that his treatment was unjustified. (That's almost certainly why he wasn't charged for his marijuana possession, because that would have gotten tossed out, too.)

Sean said...

Your scenario isn't relevant to the situation at hand. To the best of my knowledge, no one has reported that Lollie was engaged in any unusual behavior in the skyway lounge, other than just sitting there and refusing to leave the public space when asked by the security guard.

Perhaps we will learn more when additional surveillance video is released today.

John said...

Do we at least agree that this is not an issue of "racism"?

Sean said...

"Do we at least agree that this is not an issue of "racism"?"

I don't think we can determine that either way at this point.

Sean said...

Also consider that what is "normal" versus "ghetto" isn't exactly color-blind.

John said...

As color blind as yuppy and trailer trash to me.

Sean said...

You're going to argue that what is considered "normal" isn't influenced by the fact that one race of folks spent hundreds of years being treated with less rights than the other? Yikes...

John said...

I am guessing you did not listen to that wise Black man... Morgan Freeman...

Here is an interesting person.
Choice or Forced by History/Society?

Sean said...

So Morgan Freeman is now the undisputed expert on socioeconomics?

I guess coming from a guy who takes his political philosophy from a novel, that shouldn't be terribly surprising.

John said...

One more thought.

After spending time in many countries and cities over my career, amazingly "normal" looks pretty similar in most modern cities.

Rumor of Tribes No race required.

John said...

Your right, maybe he dislikes Black guys because they are Black.

Sean said...

Lo and behold, the new video releases do nothing to discount Lollie's story.

http://www.startribune.com/local/east/274598461.html

Sean said...

"After spending time in many countries and cities over my career, amazingly "normal" looks pretty similar in most modern cities."

Do you think that happened organically? Did folks in Shanghai wear business suits before Westerners showed up there?

John said...

Star Tribune Videos

Did you actually read the article?

Personally I know little more than I did before. Except it is more obvious that Lollie resisted moving when asked the first time. (ie time gap between first and later requests)

John said...

If a security guard clarified to you that the couches were for customers, would you really continue to sit there and cause a scene?

Sean said...

"Did you actually read the article?"

I did.

Lollie was under no obligation to move, because the skyways in St. Paul are public property, not private (as explained in the MinnPost article).

Sean said...

"If a security guard clarified to you that the couches were for customers, would you really continue to sit there and cause a scene?"

1.) They aren't.

http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/273348971.html

2.) It's public property, not private.

John said...

Star Tribune

I guess he exceeded his quick five.

“Need a quick five? Enjoy a seat on the skyway.”

It sounds like the public/private thing is a bit gray... Maybe the space is public and the seats are private...

Now back to the question. Once notified that they were ear marked for customers. Would you continue to be difficult or would you move?

Since he accused the Police of being racist, I am guessing he may have said some thing similar to the security guard. I mean why else would the security guard notify the cops?

Unless you think the guard was really wanting to pick on Lollie because of his race.

John said...

I liked this summary from the MinnPost article.

"No matter their legal status, these spaces exist as a gray area where the borders between public and private space bleed together into an indistinct mass. For example, in some cases, the technical right-of-way (i.e. walkway) might be public, while chairs outside shops or office building lobbies might be private. "

Sean said...

"It sounds like the public/private thing is a bit gray"

Not gray at all. The city attorney determined that Lollie was not on private property, which is why he wasn't charged with trespassing.

"Once notified that they were ear marked for customers. Would you continue to be difficult or would you move?"

You've got it backwards. The person being difficult here is the one trying to force the other out of a public place.

Sean said...

Or, technically speaking, why the prosecutor dropped the trespassing charge.

Sean said...

"St. Paul's skyways are public, similar to a public sidewalk, City Attorney Sara Grewing said last week. She said she has seen areas of the skyway marked "employees only," but that "certainly was not what we had here," Grewing said of the First National Bank Building seating area."

from
http://www.twincities.com/crime/ci_26505612/st-paul-skyway-arrest-video-released-by-police

John said...

"Or, technically speaking, why the prosecutor dropped the trespassing charge?"

In this gray zone and with everyone screaming racism... What else would a politically astute prosecutor do? And I am sure the Mayor wants the issue to go away.

I am happy the Prosecutor has clarified the statute though. I wonder if the Bank will take their furniture out of the "public space" now...

Or did the city buy the furniture?

John said...

Now you have me wondering... If I set up a lawn chair in the city park, then I go to get a drink... If when I come back someone is sitting in my chair, do I have a legal right to ask them to move?

Or is that now public property and I have to wait until they leave?

Very puzzling...

Sean said...

"In this gray zone and with everyone screaming racism... What else would a politically astute prosecutor do? And I am sure the Mayor wants the issue to go away."

The charges were dropped before the issue was publicized. Mr. Lollie did not get his phone back until after the charges were dropped.

John said...

Good point.

Maybe his defense had started threatening a civil suit as part of the negotiations and since the case was fuzzy at best, they chose to try and make it go away.

What about my lawn chair question?

Or... Can I buy food at one restaurant and take it to another that has nicer tables on the sidewalk? If they ask me to move, do I just keep eating?

John said...

Regarding your point...

Or the attourney did disagree with the police officer's opinion that a crime took place. Though it is interesting that it took almost 5 months to interpret that law if it was that black and white.

Sean said...

I'm not an attorney, so I'm relying solely on the various media accounts of this issue. My understanding is that building owners can carve out "reserved" space in the skyways, but they have to be clearly marked as such. Otherwise, they are public areas. The spot where Lollie was sitting wasn't marked on the day he was there, and apparently has never been marked as such, and isn't marked as such today. Media accounts indicate there is another skyway location in the building that is marked as an "employee-only" area, but that isn't where Lollie was sitting.

Obviously, you would have a right to control your own lawn chair. There are special regulations that apply to the public right-of-ways through buildings for skyways in St. Paul.