Since police can now consider everything we do “suspicious,” they can pull over, detain, or arrest anyone for anything. It used to be that the 4th Amendment protected against all unreasonable searches and seizures, but they’ve been steadily redefining “unreasonable” for the past several decades. Bottom line: if a cop does anything at all to you, then by definition, it was not unreasonable.
Of course, this isn’t just an aggressive crime deterrent. It’s not public safety that they’re after. They’re after achieving their citation and arrest quotas. It’s all about inflating their numbers. Oftentimes, officers have to falsify official documents to make it look like they’re meeting their quota in order to keep their bosses happy.
I’ve written before about New York City’s “stop and frisk” policy, where police can indiscriminately stop, frisk and question anyone. All the police have to do is indicate in their report that they witnessed “suspicious behavior” in this particular person, and that justifies everything else they do to that person.
New York City isn’t the only place with such 4th Amendment-violating practices. Miami Gardens, Florida is at least just as bad. That’s the home of a 28-year-old guy named Earl Sampson, who’s been stopped by the local PD over 200 times.
And no, he’s not acting suspicious. He’s just some guy who works at a convenience store. He’s been stopped, detained, questioned, beaten for things like “trespassing”…in the place where he works. He’s even told the police when they come into the store to grab him that he works there, but they tell him that they don’t care.
Like I said, these random “stop and frisks” have nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with inflating their numbers to meet their department-mandated and completely unattainable quotas.
In the summer of 2010, a young black man was stopped and questioned by police on the streets of Miami Gardens, Florida. According to the report filled out by the officer, he was “wearing gray sweatpants, a red hoodie and black gloves” giving the police “just cause” to question him. In the report, he was labeled a “suspicious person.”
He was an 11-year-old boy on his way to football practice.
A Fusion investigation has found that he was just one of 56,922 people who were stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens Police Department (MGPD) between 2008 and 2013. That’s the equivalent of more than half of the city’s population.
Not one of them was arrested.
It was all part of the city’s sweeping “stop and frisk” style policy that may be unparalleled in the nation.
According to a review of 99,980 “field contact” reports, they were stopped, written up and often identified as “suspicious” — but just like the 11-year-old boy — the encounter was recorded in a public database, and they were let go.
Thousands more were arrested after being stopped by the police, raising the total number of people ensnared by the policy to 65,328 during the five-year period.
“I have never seen a police department that has taken the approach that every citizen in that city is a suspect. I’ve described it as New York City stop-and-frisk on steroids.” said Miami-Dade County Public Defender Carlos Martinez.
Last year, a Miami Herald report exposed how the MGPD repeatedly stopped and arrested employees and customers of a local convenience store including, Earl Sampson, who was stopped more than 200 times.
Fusion’s analysis of more than 30,000 pages of field contact reports, shows how aggressive and far-reaching the police actions were. Some residents were stopped, questioned and written up multiple times within minutes of each other, by different officers. Children were stopped by police in playgrounds. Senior citizens were stopped and questioned near their retirement home, including a 99-year-old man deemed to be “suspicious.” Officers even wrote a report identifying a five-year-old child as a “suspicious person.”
You can read the rest of their report here.
This is why the Constitution is becoming obsolete. It’s not so much a conspiracy as it is just greedy politicians and government officials who will do anything to get as much money (and power) as possible.
In this case, it’s the police departments who will do anything to get as much police grant money as possible. If that means enforcing top-down quotas on everyone in the department, which do nothing but encourage police corruption like falsifying documents and ticketing/arresting people for nothing, then so be it.