Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can you really blame the police in this situation?

Asked by Dutchess_III (41908points) 1 month ago

As most of you know, when I was in my 30s, and divorced, I dated a black guy, off and on, for about 10 years. He told me several times of a story where he, and 3 of his friends, were unjustly profiled, in his opinion.
Apparently 4 adult black men, in one car, had robbed a convenience store. The clerk gave that description (4 adult black men in a car.)
My boyfriend and his 3 friends were pulled over by the police and questioned. They weren’t arrested, just pulled over and questioned.
Do you think the police action was justified in this situation?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

45 Answers

jca2's avatar

I’d say it’s hard to second guess what happened and there are two sides to that story. Did the cops get a description beyond “4 black guys?” Did the cops get a description of the vehicle? We don’t know.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That is how Jerry told me the story, just like that. “4 black men in a car.” He was outraged. “Just because we were 4 black men in a car we’re under suspicion??” The story, as he related it to me, and as I related to you, doesn’t strike me as outrageous.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No.
Based on the information they were given, it makes sense.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s how I felt. Especially as they were four ADULT men in a car…not kids.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

My husband was pulled over by a group of officers, guns drawn, for robbing a candy store when he was 14!
No, he didn’t have a license but they didn’t even ask for that.
The description was “white guy wearing a black & white jacket”.
They drove him by the store so the clerk could ID him and then took him back to his sister’s car (that he fixed and didn’t let her know right away lol ) and set him free.

Yellowdog's avatar

Four black / African American men in a car, in the general vicinity of the crime, no arrest but profiling, sounds okay with me.

I’ve been questioned by police at Walmart simply because I was going in- and out of Walmart a lot, over a long period of time, while my girlfriend shopped for hours. The police were told I was taking merchandise out of the store. Fortunately, there was nothing in my car to justify the suspicion.

Fitting a description isn’t profiling.

Now, if they targeted four black men at random, without a crime by four black men in a car having been committed, that would be different.

zenvelo's avatar

But if it had been four white guys in a car, would the police have pulled over every car with four white guys? No.

Four people in a car is not evidence enough for probable cause, unless they are black. White people, it would have to be a similar make and model car. You don’t mention that. Were the police looking for that type of car? Same color car? No, those details always seem to get lost in the background when describing police interaction with people of color.

There are too many instances of police killing the “wrong” person. Breonna Taylor was killed in her own apartment because police were looking for a black man and they knew there was a black man in her residence. That was considered justification for a no knock warrant.

janbb's avatar

@zenvelo is right. Can you imagine a lifetime of being stopped because “you fit the description”?

jca2's avatar

We’re only hearing one side of the story.

mazingerz88's avatar

Based on details on the post, seems justified to me. How can it not, based on the post?

Jonsblond's avatar

“He told me several times of a story where he, and 3 of his friends, were unjustly profiled, in his opinion.”

Here’s the problem. Black boys and men are always unjustly profiled. It’s a fact, not an opinion.

In the situation you described it may have been justified but that doesn’t take away from every other time this happens to black men.

seawulf575's avatar

Pretty much justified. Shoot, the cops will act on the information they get…they have to. It has even happened to me. When I was a teen, a friend of mine and I went to a convenient store after a party, bought some cookies and juice, and sat on the front steps of the local school to eat, drink, and gab. We were at a major intersection and noticed cop cars going in all directions. We thought it was odd, but somewhat amusing. As we started walking home a cop car coming towards us slowed down and spun around to pull over right in front of us. He started grilling us about where we were going, where we had been, what we were doing out, etc. We told him…been to a party, going home, he lives over there, I live over here, bought cookies and juice and have been eating them (we still had the extras in the bag). He eventually got a radio call and started to leave but we asked him why we had been stopped. Apparently to young men had entered the same convenient store shortly after we left, pulled a gun and robbed the place, fleeing on foot. One was taller and the other was average height. Pretty much matched our descriptions. I didn’t care that they stopped me…they were doing their jobs. I certainly didn’t assign some nefarious purpose behind the stop.

Yellowdog's avatar

@zenvelo and @janbb Yes, if four white guys in a car, or a white redneck man with a blonde-haired 12 or 13 year old boy, committed a crime—and guys matching that description were found, you bet they’d be questioned.

I’ve been questioned by neighborhood watch folks when I park my car in a neighborhood and get out to walk—because I like the neighborhood or the scenery, and there’s no drug store or gas station nearby to park in, Just because one is African American doesn’t make this profiling.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Guys, that is ALL he ever told me. Didn’t mention the make or model of the car, nature of the crime, nothing. He was just outraged that they got pulled over just because they were 4 black men in a car. Actually, I would find it odd to have 4 grown, 20 or 30-something men (not teenagers) in one car.

There was another incident that WAS outrageous. He and I had gone to a night club and had a little too much to drink, and I got pissed because I was convinced he was flirting with some other girl. I stormed out and he came after me. Once we were outside suddenly we found ourselves surround by cops with their freaking guns drawn.
I ducked behind Jerry, wondering what the hell was going on. The cops asked if I was OK. I just nodded.
Jerry said, “It was just a lover’s spat, officers.” They asked me if it was true and I just nodded mutely and they FINALLY backed down.
After it was pretty much over one of the officers said to me, “All we saw was a black man running after a white woman, so you can imagine how that looked.”
I didn’t say anything (I would never dream of provoking a police officer) but what I WANTED to say was, “So, if a white guy was running after me you wouldn’t have taken any action??”

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I don’t doubt that what he told you is all he ever told you. My point is that he is telling one side of the story. Maybe the cops had more details. We will never know at this point. Maybe he had more details. We will never know that either, at this point. His side of the story was “look, they came after us just because of one detail” but we don’t know how accurate that is.

janbb's avatar

@jca2 However, we can make an educated judgment based on all the details we do know about other incidents where policemen did go after and sometimes kill an innocent Black person based on scant information. I can certainly understand why a Black person would be scared and angry about being stopped. There may always be two sides to a story but there is usually one that is more true.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I didn’t think the police were out of line either, based on everything (which wasn’t much) that he told me, but I didn’t tell him that.

jca2's avatar

Yes to everything you said, @janbb. I was not referring to other incidents. I was referring only to the incident @Dutchess_III talked about.

jca2's avatar

Also, yes there is often a “truer” side to the two sided stories, but many times, the other details will justify what’s occurred, @janbb. For example, if the details given to the police were that the 4 African Americans were in a red car, and @Dutchess_III‘s boyfriend and his 3 friends were in a red car, ok, that adds weight to the police pulling them over, @janbb. That’s why, in my first comment, I asked if the police had more details, like a description of the car. Without more, we can only speculate.

Dutchess_III's avatar

One time my Mom got pulled over in her Vega. Police walked up to her window, saw her and looked confused.
He said, “Well, you’re not a black man driving a Vega!” and let her go.

Yellowdog's avatar

Some of our most dangerous cities are now doing away with the police. I suspect two or three cities will follow through, or the police will walk off the job.
Its a largely thankless job, puting one’s life on the line to protect people’s lives and livelihood, homes, businesses, and property. and in addition they have been called being called Nazis and terrorists and racists, getting ambushed and sabotaged,

I hope at least some of you will have the opportunity to see how well we do without them,

jca2's avatar

@Yellowdog: No city that I know of in the US is talking about “doing away with the police.” Here in NYC, the Mayor is going to move some funds (SOME) from the police to social service agencies. Minneapolis is going to disband the police, which means they’re going to change things from the top down. Los Angeles, same thing. If you have any links proving that there are cities that are going to “do away with police” then please provide them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thank you for stating the obvious @jca2. The crap some people come up with is mind blowing.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 Minneapolis is trying to do just that. This shows more information. What I find funniest is that I recently asked the question of whether we should defund the cops or not and everyone agreed it was an idiotic idea. Yet here we are…12 Dems and a Green trying to do just that. That’s leadership!!!

seawulf575's avatar

And yes, I know…they are going to “dismantle” the cops, not defund them. But really, is there a difference? They are going to do away with police and replace them with some other bizarre effort to “keep the peace”. I know the people are all going to fall right in line and everyone will live in harmony. There will be no crime. What could possibly go wrong?

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^^ Bullshit. Every nation needs police. We just have to come up with a way to not hire bad cops.
Also, do you really believe everything you read without question @seawulf575? That RT site suggests it will give you news that the mainstream media won’t. What kind of crap is that? And you believe it??

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III I know we need police. I’m not the idiot proposing we do away with them. Don’t like the RT post? Okay. What about the NY Post? They were listed as well and had basically the same information. Want more? You know I can do that…and so can you. I just chose the top couple on the search I did. So, here is another example, another, another (oh and that is MSN), another, another Do I really need to go on? The story is out there. I don’t make it up. It is your beloved liberals at work. Why aren’t you screaming support for them? After all, that is the silly sort of crap they are pushing and I am willing to bet they will not be the last Dem group to push it. And now you can watch the reaction from Dems across the country. Will Biden speak out against this? Will Pelosi? Or will there be crickets? Or maybe support?

Dutchess_III's avatar

All of those articles explained that they’re planning to overhaul their protection program. That is not the same thing as getting rid of it all together.
I, personally, think they simply need to take a good hard look at their hiring policies.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III maybe your definition of “dismantle” is different from mine. I always thought that meant to tear something down, to disassemble it, to make it not functional any longer. I think their hiring practices are only the surface. They need better training, they need to be willing to call out the police that aren’t meeting standards either during training or after they are in the field. But the city council wants to “dismantle the MPD” and replace it with something new an innovative. My guess is it won’t have cops. They won’t be willing to do the job that needs to be done. And it is pretty certain they won’t be supporting people’s rights…they’ll most likely be hired thugs for the city council to control and use as they see fit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Read your own damn links! ”“We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild…a new model of public safety…” That was from this link that you provided.

Do you just read the attention grabbing headlines or something?

jca2's avatar

What does defunding the police really mean?

NY Times article for you, because you know I usually like to provide links, @seawulf575 (unlike some people):

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/08/us/what-does-defund-police-mean.html

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III And the devil is in the details. What is that model? What does it look like? Who will be staffing it? Who will be in control of it? What will their marching orders be? This is just a couple of the multitude of questions that need to be answered. Meanwhile, they could be losing cops right and left who are just going to walk away. Think they will be included in this “new model of public safety”? I don’t. They would have a really hard time saying it was new without restaffing from the top down.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You’re being ridiculous @seawulf575. They haven’t come up with a replacement model yet. That will take some time. And people can be given new job titles. Not ALL the Minneapolis police are cruel and incompetent.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 Yep. But here’s the problem with all that. It doesn’t actually address the job. Let’s step back a moment and see what is happening right now. Cops are being targeted. They are always in a potentially dangerous situation. They are asked to go into situations that any normal person would walk away from because it is too unstable. And all these calls for cutting funding, cutting OT, cutting equipment only makes them easier targets. Do you really believe that people will do the things that cops are asked to do for less money and with less equipment? There’s a reason the budgets for cops have a bunch of OT coming out of them. It’s because the demand for the police exceeds the staffing for police. But hey, don’t let reality get in the way of a good liberal talking point!

Dutchess_III's avatar

And yes. The devil is in the details, which is why you can’t stop reading at the headline.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III And yet they have no problem voting on a resolution to do the dismantling. So here’s your options: they either fully mean it which is scary, or they are just pandering which is typical of politicians. But in the end pandering will not change anything which is just as scary. At least in Minneapolis.
And as amazing it it might seem to you, I actually read citations…both those I provide and those that others provide to me. And when I read them, I pass them through the filter: does it make sense, what is actually being said, what ISN’T being said, etc.

jca2's avatar

@seawulf575: Employers save money by being short staffed and paying overtime, rather than putting more bodies in, which means more health insurance, more paid days off, etc. They’d rather pay one person for 10 or more hours of overtime rather than having to pay out a whole other person’s salary, plus health benefits, plus his or her vacation pay, sick time, etc.

Dutchess_III's avatar

BTW, in his defense @jca2, he actually posted some links. He just had no idea what they said!

His argument is like saying “Since Joe Biden isn’t president now he never will be.” These things take time. Lots of time.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_III: Lotttttts of time!

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 I understand that is how OT works. But I also know that after that decision is made…to pay OT instead of hiring more people…another decision is made to cut OT since it is a budgetary decision. And, to @Dutchess_III‘s point, from your own citation comes this:

Many activists want money now spent on police overtime or on buying expensive equipment for police departments to be shifted to programs related to mental health, housing and education — areas that the activists say could bring about systemic societal change and cut down on crime and violence with sufficient money.”

So the city council decided not to pay for more cops, but use OT instead and now people want to take money spent on OT and use it for other things. Guess you missed that in your own citation. Maybe you need to tell the liberals how OT works and why you would use it.

:

Yellowdog's avatar

The mayor of Minneapolis says instead of the police, you can call a friend or trusted social worker. How about your grandmother? If you’ve been raped in a home invasion, or your son has been carjacked and shot at the gas station, hugs from grandma can mean a lot,

Dutchess_lll's avatar

He said no such thing @Yellowdog.
They voted on restructuring the police force.

From my post above:

We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild…a new model of public safety…”

Source

MrGrimm888's avatar

Standard procedure.

What type of police would they be, if they didn’t investigate people who, fit the description of the purps? As long as it doesn’t go, beyond investigation.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I agree. Jerry insisted that if they gave him the wrong food at a resturaunt it was because he was black. Gave the wrong change back, same thing.
Well if you faced blatent racism from the cradle you can’t really blame him.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther