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Latino Cops Organization: Cambridge Police Acted "Stupidly"

Black Star News, News Analysis, Anthony Miranda Posted: Jul 27, 2009

The disproportionate stopping of African Americans and Latinos by law enforcement is a national problem. We at the National Latino Officers Association support President Barack Obama 100% on this issue, especially his statement following the arrest of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., by officers of the Cambridge Police Department that: What I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.

That's just a fact. For the first time perhaps there was an acknowledgement and understanding of what many minorities know to be true, that African Americans and Latinos are being stopped disproportionately by law enforcement. The President should not apologize for being African American and having a greater understanding and sensitivity to racial profiling or over bearing police responses.

We should be clear, the President never asked the Cambridge police to apologize.

The officers response however, clearly shows that he is responding to an African American and not the President of the United States. Any police officer after reviewing his actions in retrospect can conclude that this situation if handled differently could have better served police and community relations.

We also agree that the officers acted stupidly in arresting a man in his own home for disorderly conduct. Police officers are held to a higher standard than the public. They are trained to de-escalate situations and to be more tolerant. The officer in question, an instructor of sensitivity,should have exercised more discretion between free speech and the necessary element of public alarm for
disorderly conduct.

It is a common practice, often complained of, that requesting an officers name and badge number often results in being arrested. Resisting arrest, resisting arrest without violence, disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration and similarly worded statutes are tools for law enforcement officers to advance or support legitimate police actions and strategies.

These statutes were never meant to advance the intimidation of the public. Whether you call it racial profiling, selective enforcement, abuse of authority, disparate impact or any other name which translates to illegal, it is a national and local issue that plagues African Americans, Latinos and others who are not Caucasian.

It is long overdue that law enforcement practices be more closely scrutinized for civil rights violations.

All law enforcement agencies should be mandated to analyze and document their enforcement activities for race, age, and sexual orientation for review by the public. Police practices need greater accountability for the protection, advancement and potential violations of civil rights with renewed vitality.

Related Articles:

Professor Gates and Me: Racism vs. Blacks, Filipinos in America

Charges Against Gates Dropped, Resentments Linger

Gates' Arrest Is the Essence of American Racism

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